835 F.2d 1481 (D.C. Cir. 1987), 86-1675, Prill v. N.L.R.B.

Docket Nº:86-1675.
Citation:835 F.2d 1481
Party Name:Kenneth P. PRILL, Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Respondent.
Case Date:December 31, 1987
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
 
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Page 1481

835 F.2d 1481 (D.C. Cir. 1987)

Kenneth P. PRILL, Petitioner,

v.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Respondent.

No. 86-1675.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

December 31, 1987

Argued Oct. 9, 1987.

Ellis Boal, Detroit, Mich., for petitioner.

Howard E. Perlstein, N.L.R.B., with whom Robert E. Allen, Associate General Counsel, Aileen A. Armstrong, Deputy Associate General Counsel, and Elaine Patrick, N.L.R.B., Washington, D.C., were on the brief, for respondent.

Jordan Rossen, Detroit, Mich., was on the brief, for amicus curiae, Intern. Union, United Automobile Workers, urging reversal.

Before ROBINSON, GINSBURG and SILBERMAN, Circuit Judges.

Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge SILBERMAN.

Page 1482

SILBERMAN, Circuit Judge:

Petitioner Kenneth Prill seeks review of a supplemental decision by the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB" or "Board") finding that Prill's employer, Meyers Industries, Inc. ("Meyers"), did not commit an unfair labor practice when it fired Prill from his job as a truck driver. Meyers Indus., Inc., 281 N.L.R.B. No. 118 (Sept. 30, 1986) ("Meyers II "). Prill comes to this court for the second time, having previously petitioned for review after the Board dismissed his identical complaint three years ago in Meyers Industries, Inc., 268 N.L.R.B. 493 (1984) ("Meyers I "). Meyers I held that Prill's individual actions arising out of his own complaints about the safety of his truck were not "concerted" for the purposes of section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA" or "Act"), which protects the right of employees to "engage in ... concerted activities for [their] ... mutual aid or protection." 29 U.S.C. Sec. 157 (1982). On petition for review of that order, in Prill v. NLRB, 755 F.2d 941 (D.C.Cir.1985) ("Prill I "), we remanded to the Board for further consideration. Now before us is the Board's second decision, Meyers II, in which the Board has adhered to its initial determination in Meyers I but modified its reasoning in light of our opinion. Since we conclude that this time the Board's position constitutes a reasonable interpretation of the NLRA to which we must defer, we affirm the Board's decision in Meyers II.

I.

The facts of this case are not in controversy, and they are fully presented in Prill I, 755 F.2d at 943-45. Briefly, they are as follows: Kenneth Prill was, beginning in April 1979, a truck driver for Meyers, a Michigan-based aluminum boat manufacturer. Having had difficulties with the brakes on his company-issued truck, Prill made several complaints to Meyers personnel--to his supervisor, David Faling, to the mechanic and to the company president, Alan Beatty.

In June 1979, another truck driver, Ben Gove, drove Prill's truck on a long trip. After his return, Gove reported having had brake and steering problems with Prill's truck. While Prill was present in the office, Gove told Faling that he would not drive the truck until the brakes were repaired, and Faling promised to do so.

Later, in early July 1979, Prill was driving his truck through Tennessee and had an accident due in part to the faulty brakes. After unsuccessfully trying to have the state public service commission inspect the damaged tractor and trailer, Prill contacted Beatty, who asked that Prill have the truck towed home to Michigan despite Prill's protestation that it was not safe to move. Beatty requested that Prill chain the tractor and trailer together for moving; Prill refused, asserting that cracks in the areas where the truck and trailer were hitched together would make such an operation unsafe. Instead, Prill had the Tennessee Public Service Commission arrange for an official inspection, which led to a report finding the brakes unsafe and the hitch area damaged. The Tennessee authorities then issued a citation...

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