750 F.2d 524 (6th Cir. 1984), 83-5450, N.L.R.B. v. E.I. DuPont De Nemours

Docket Nº:83-5450.
Citation:750 F.2d 524
Case Date:December 14, 1984
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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750 F.2d 524 (6th Cir. 1984)



E.I. DuPONT DE NEMOURS, Respondent.

No. 83-5450.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

December 14, 1984

Argued Sept. 25, 1984.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Elliott Moore, Deputy Associate Gen. Counsel, N.L.R.B., Helen Morgan, L. Pat Wynns (argued), N.L.R.B., Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Charles Mitchell, Deborah Pierce, E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Co., Wilmington, Del., William F. Kirsch, Jr. (Lead), Hieskell, Donelson, Bearman, Adams, Williams & Kirsch, Maurice Wexler (argued), Memphis, Tenn., for respondent.

Before JONES and CONTIE, Circuit Judges, and GILMORE, District Judge. [*]


The National Labor Relations Board (the Board) seeks enforcement of its order requiring E.I. DuPont De Nemours (DuPont) to cease and desist from unfair labor practices and to reinstate an employee who DuPont previously discharged. We find that substantial evidence on the record supports the NLRB's findings and therefore enforce the order.

During the spring and summer of 1979, three sets of charges of unfair labor practices were filed against DuPont by Teamsters Local 515, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (the Union). In January, 1980, further charges were added and a final consolidated complaint was issued. An Administrative Law Judge (the ALJ) heard the charges. One set of charges was disposed of by informal settlement. DuPont denied engaging in unfair labor practices, including the alleged unlawful discharge of three employees.

The ALJ found that DuPont had committed a number of independent violations of section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act) 29 U.S.C. 151, et seq. He also found that one of the three employees was unlawfully discharged, although he found that the other two employees were not unlawfully discharged. The Board affirmed the ALJ's decision in all respects except one. The Board found that a second of the three discharges was also unlawful. The Board then applied for enforcement of its order. Prior to that time the NLRB and DuPont settled the issue of the second discharged employee. Only the independent violations of the Act and the discharge of James Merriman are currently before this Court. 1

The events involved in this litigation occurred at DuPont's Chattanooga, Tennessee nylon plant (the plant). The plant produces nylon yarn and nylon cordage. It employed approximately 2,800 persons at the time in question. The plant operated seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day on a four shift basis.

In February, 1979, the Union filed a representation petition with the Board, by which it sought representation rights at the plant. On March 14, an NLRB supervised election was scheduled. That election was conducted on April 25 and 26, 1979. Approximately 2,800 employees in the bargaining unit were eligible to vote. Over 2,700 votes were cast. The Union lost by a margin of 43% to 57%. No objections regarding the election were filed and the Board certified the results.

All of DuPont's alleged independent violations of section 8(a)(1) of the Act occurred

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during the campaign period of this election, from late February to late April, 1979. These violations primarily involved informal contacts between supervisors and employees during which the likelihood that the Union would win the election was discussed. The supervisors initiated most of these contacts. Several contacts between supervisors and employees involved threats of discipline or of lost opportunities for advancement. In two instances the alleged violation involved the statements of supervisors to groups of twelve or so employees at information and discussion meetings. The Board found that DuPont repeatedly violated the Act by coercively interrogating employees about the Union and their Union activities, by threatening the futility of Union representation, by threatening reprisals for Union activity, by...

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