Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., No. 2582.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
Writing for the CourtPICARD
PartiesANDERSON et al. v. MT. CLEMENS POTTERY CO. et al.
Decision Date30 June 1943
Docket NumberNo. 2582.

60 F. Supp. 146

ANDERSON et al.
v.
MT. CLEMENS POTTERY CO. et al.

No. 2582.

District Court, E. D. Michigan, S. D.

June 30, 1943.


60 F. Supp. 147
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
60 F. Supp. 148
Edward Lamb, of Toledo, Ohio, for plaintiffs

Beaumont, Smith & Harris, of Detroit, Mich., for defendant.

PICARD, District Judge.

This is an action brought by certain employees for claimed violation by defendant of the Wages and Hours Act. Plaintiffs, who are piece workers, allege in part that defendant required them to report for work at 14 minutes previous to the hour designated for starting; that invariably they began their labors shortly thereafter but were paid only from the official hour for the opening of the plant. Then in addition to being required to come early it is their claim that they would work 14 minutes after the morning closing hour and only get paid up to noon; 14 minutes before the official time for starting work after noon lunch, being paid from the official hour only and that this same practice prevailed at the closing hour—so that in all plaintiffs allege that they worked about 56 minutes every day for which they received no compensation in computing their overtime.

There are also other differences more or less of a minor nature or individual, among those being the custom of the art, seemingly from time immemorial, that workers engaged in certain features of pottery making must furnish their own sponges and tools; that the company made a profit on the items so sold to help take care of its overhead; and that certain employees, commonly called jiggermen, were required to contribute to the pay of helpers who would take the culls or the blemished work of the jiggermen and by polishing would deliver a piece of pottery acceptable to the standard set by the company.

The matter was referred to a master whose report was entirely in favor of defendant and the question now is simply whether this court will approve that report.

In the meantime, following argument and before this court had an opportunity to pass on the question, plaintiffs voluntarily discontinued as to co-defendant Kresge Company which they sought to hold as sole stockholder of defendant, The Mt. Clemens Pottery Company.

Conclusions of the Court

We will discuss the vital issues categorically and enumerate our reasons briefly for our position.

1. Extra Time not Computed.

The first question is whether or not defendant required its employees to report for work at 14 minutes to seven o'clock, for example, starting them practically immediately and then computing their hours from seven o'clock, continuing this practice throughout the day as above enumerated, so that in fact the employees worked approximately 56 minutes every day which were not computed in figuring overtime. It may be explained here that such computation is essential even on piece work since the amount of compensation to piece workers for overtime—according to the Administrator's interpretation —is arrived at by dividing the total amount received in piece work by the number of hours worked in a given work week to get an average hourly wage rate, and then paying time and one-half at this wage to piece workers for all time over 40 hours. See Interpretative Bulletin No. 4, Wage and Hour Division, United States Department of Labor.

Naturally if the above claim of plaintiffs is true, some would be working almost 5 hours additional every week which would have brought many of them into the overtime bracket.

On the other hand the response of the company is a complete denial with the explanation that it usually opened its time clocks for punching at 14 minutes prior to some designated hour so that all employees might have an opportunity to punch the clock, prepare themselves for work (such as wearing special gloves) and so that all would be ready to begin work when the official time arrived.

It further claimed that pottery in the main is made through the working of groups or crews and by requiring the employees to be ready for active work before the appointed hour each member of the crew would be there at the starting time, work would not be delayed nor an injustice done to the rest of the crew

60 F. Supp. 149
because of some tardy employee's negligence

This court, therefore, because of the importance of the issue, instructed that evidence be carefully taken, since if plaintiffs' charge was correct we were face to face with a method of employer domination and unfairness that, to say the least, would be most reprehensible, while if defendant's contentions were true this court would hold that such a rule of the company would not be unreasonable. It must be borne in mind, however, that under no circumstances would it justify defendant in starting, or permitting these employees to work before the scheduled hour. This conclusion is fundamental because it must be apparent that to hold otherwise would permit employers of piece workers to circumvent the objectives of this law and the purpose of the Wages and Hours Act might be entirely frustrated.

On this first point the Master held with the employer and found that the allegations of plaintiffs were not true. Nevertheless, and while in the main agreeing with him, there is sufficient evidence to require more careful scrutiny by this court of the foundation for this report and therefore we have re-examined the evidence, paying particular attention to the time cards. Here we noticed what we deem to be significant, to-wit, we found that whenever the starting hour was seven o'clock the punching of the clock did begin at 14 minutes to seven and by nine minutes to seven...

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4 practice notes
  • Anderson v. Mt Clemens Pottery Co, No. 342
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 10, 1946
    ...punchins. The use of this formula led the District Court to enter a judgment against respondent in the amount of $2,415.74 plus costs. 60 F.Supp. 146. Only the respondent appealed. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals made a careful examination of the master's findings and conclusions, holdin......
  • Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., No. 2582.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • April 14, 1947
    ...of its developments which finally resulted in necessity for this court's present determination. When this matter was first heard (D.C., 60 F.Supp. 146), plaintiffs were not seeking pay for time consumed walking to their jobs nor for preliminary activities necessary for production work. The ......
  • Ballard v. Consolidated Steel Corporation, Civ. No. 3850.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • July 30, 1945
    ...they could not tell on any particular day when they arrived at their departments or commenced preliminary work," and the District Court, 60 F. Supp. 146, notwithstanding the findings of the special master, applied an arbitrary formula, as "2. The Court finds that some of the plaintiffs star......
  • United States v. 600 Units Containing" Nue-Ovo", No. 2148.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • March 23, 1945
    ...of Washington. The claimant in that case had originally applied to one of the district judges in one of the districts of Washington 60 F. Supp. 146 to transfer the case to the Northern District of Illinois for the reason that the claimant's principal place of business was in Chicago. The Di......
4 cases
  • Anderson v. Mt Clemens Pottery Co, No. 342
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 10, 1946
    ...punchins. The use of this formula led the District Court to enter a judgment against respondent in the amount of $2,415.74 plus costs. 60 F.Supp. 146. Only the respondent appealed. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals made a careful examination of the master's findings and conclusions, holdin......
  • Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., No. 2582.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • April 14, 1947
    ...of its developments which finally resulted in necessity for this court's present determination. When this matter was first heard (D.C., 60 F.Supp. 146), plaintiffs were not seeking pay for time consumed walking to their jobs nor for preliminary activities necessary for production work. The ......
  • Ballard v. Consolidated Steel Corporation, Civ. No. 3850.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • July 30, 1945
    ...they could not tell on any particular day when they arrived at their departments or commenced preliminary work," and the District Court, 60 F. Supp. 146, notwithstanding the findings of the special master, applied an arbitrary formula, as "2. The Court finds that some of the plaintiffs star......
  • United States v. 600 Units Containing" Nue-Ovo", No. 2148.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • March 23, 1945
    ...of Washington. The claimant in that case had originally applied to one of the district judges in one of the districts of Washington 60 F. Supp. 146 to transfer the case to the Northern District of Illinois for the reason that the claimant's principal place of business was in Chicago. The Di......

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