Arrow Elec. Co., Inc. v. N.L.R.B., Nos. 97-5734

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtMOORE
Citation155 F.3d 762
Parties159 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2232, 136 Lab.Cas. P 10,248 ARROW ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC., Petitioner/Cross-Respondent, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Respondent/Cross-Petitioner.
Decision Date19 August 1998
Docket Number97-5951,Nos. 97-5734

Page 762

155 F.3d 762
159 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2232, 136 Lab.Cas. P 10,248
ARROW ELECTRIC COMPANY, INC., Petitioner/Cross-Respondent,
v.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Respondent/Cross-Petitioner.
Nos. 97-5734, 97-5951.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued July 31, 1998.
Decided Aug. 19, 1998. *

Page 763

Robert J. Schumacher (argued and briefed), Schumacher & Booker, Louisville, KY, for Petitioner/Cross-Respondent.

Aileen A. Armstrong (briefed), Dep. Asso. Gen. Counsel, Frederick C. Havard (briefed), Sonya Spielberg (argued and briefed), National Labor Relations Board, Washington, DC, for Respondent/Cross-Petitioner.

Before: JONES, RYAN, and MOORE, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

MOORE, Circuit Judge.

Arrow Electric Company, Inc. ("Arrow"), the Petitioner and Cross-Respondent in this action, seeks review of a decision and order of the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board") finding that Arrow violated the National

Page 764

Labor Relations Act ("NLRA" or the "Act") by discharging four employees who walked off the job to protest the actions and attitude of their supervisor. The Board cross-petitions for enforcement of its order. Arrow claims that the walkout is not protected activity under § 7 of the NLRA, which provides employees with the right to engage in concerted activity for certain purposes; and alternatively, that the employees were not discharged for the protected activity in violation of § 8(a)(1) of the Act, which prohibits interference with the above rights, but instead for violating established company policy by leaving work. Because substantial evidence supports the Board's finding that Arrow terminated these four employees in response to the walkout in violation of the NLRA, we DENY Arrow's petition and ENFORCE the Board's order.
I

The essential facts, as found by the administrative law judge (the "ALJ") and adopted by the Board, are not in dispute. Robert Franklin, Kathleen Jackson, Kevin Simms, and Evan Grider were fired by Arrow Electric Company on February 27, 1996. In the weeks preceding their termination, these four employees had significant problems with one of their supervisors, Sonny Collins. When present at the job site, Collins supervised their assigned project, which involved installing electrical work and mounting televisions at a high school. In the more common case of Collins's absence, Robert Franklin supervised. The Field Supervisor for the project, Donald Jeffries, held two meetings in mid-February with the four employees in order to air their grievances about Collins. Collins himself attended only the second meeting. The complaints centered around Collins's belligerent attitude, his disrespectful and demeaning words to the employees, and specific instances of threatening to hold over a paycheck and "sneaking around" the site to eye the employees and comment negatively on how they were doing their jobs. Collins apologized for his conduct in this meeting and pledged to "do better," and Jeffries told the employees to come to him if there were any more problems.

The next week, the problems resurfaced. Collins and Franklin spent half of the shift on February 22 in an argument about which mounting device to use for the televisions. The following day Collins arrived about an hour into the shift, abruptly reassigned Jackson and Simms, told Grider to perform a job alone that Grider considered safe only with two people, and informed Franklin in writing (refusing to speak to Franklin directly) to mount the televisions Collins's way. Cognizant of Jeffries's statement that they should come to him with future problems, the employees decided to contact him. Their attempts to reach him by radio, phone, and pager were unsuccessful, so they finally left the work site and drove to the shop. There, after discovering that Jeffries was not present, the employees each met individually with Arrow's personnel director, Jessica Thompson, and her supervisor. Each employee explained the problems they were having with Collins and the impact this was having on their productivity, stating that they could not return to the site if Collins remained in charge. Thompson told them to return to the shop on Monday morning, at which time they filled out individual questionnaires about the events on Friday, February 23. On Tuesday, February 27, they were each given termination letters, which categorized "leaving the jobsite without notice" on Friday, February 23, as "Neglect of Duty" under company rules, subjecting them to termination. J.A. at 120-46 (Gen. Couns. Ex. 8-15, Questionnaires and Termination Letters).

There were two issues before the ALJ: whether the actions of the four employees were protected under § 7 of the Act, and if so, whether the employees were discharged due to their exercise of these rights in violation of § 8 of the Act. Because the ALJ determined that the walkout was designed to remedy the negative impact of Collins's behavior on the working conditions and productivity of these employees, he found the actions to be protected. Further, he found as undisputed fact that Arrow was aware of these actions and that they resulted in the termination of the employees. Thus, because Arrow did not establish that it would have taken the same action had the employees not walked out and did not offer a separate reason for the discharges, the ALJ found the discharges to be in violation of § 8(a)(1) of the NLRA.

Page 765

II

The Board affirmed the findings and conclusions of the ALJ and adopted his recommended order with minor modifications on June 13, 1997. J.A. at 4-8 (Board Decision). The standard of review for Board determinations is deferential. The Board's interpretation of the NLRA is subject to the Chevron test. 1 See Holly Farms Corp. v. NLRB, 517 U.S. 392, 398-99, 116 S.Ct. 1396, 134 L.Ed.2d 593 (1996); see also NLRB v. Webcor Packaging, Inc., 118 F.3d 1115, 1119 (6th Cir.1997),...

To continue reading

Request your trial
13 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Miami University, No. C-2-98-0097.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Ohio
    • March 20, 2000
    ...(1971) ("The administrative interpretation of the Act by the enforcing agency is entitled to great deference."); Arrow Elec. Co. v. NLRB, 155 F.3d 762, 765 n. 1 (6th Cir.1998); Bartling v. Fruehauf Corp., 29 F.3d 1062, 1072 (6th Cir.1994); Hamama v. INS, 78 F.3d 233, 239 (6th Cir.1996) (sta......
  • Trompler, Inc. v. N.L.R.B., No. 01-3606.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 1, 2003
    ...531, 538-39 (5th Cir.1963). On the other side, supporting the Board, are at least two circuits. See, e.g., Arrow Electric Co. v. NLRB, 155 F.3d 762, 765 (6th Cir.1998); First National Bank of Omaha v. NLRB, 413 F.2d 921, 923-24 (8th Cir.1969). Restless movement from one side of this conflic......
  • Trompler, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 01-3606.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 1, 2003
    ...531, 538-39 (5th Cir. 1963). On the other side, supporting the Board, are at least two circuits. See, e.g., Arrow Electric Co. v. NLRB, 155 F.3d 762, 765 Page 11 Cir. 1998); First National Bank of Omaha v. NLRB, 413 F.2d 921, 923-24 (8th Cir. 1969). Restless movement from one side of this c......
  • National Labor Relations v. Mains St Terrace, Nos. 99-5526
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • May 5, 2000
    ...an employee for engaging in activity protected by § 7 constitutes a violation of § 8(a)(1). See, e.g., Arrow Elec. Co. v. NLRB, 155 F.3d 762, 767 (6th Cir. 1998) (enforcing Board's determination that employer violated § 8(a)(1) by discharging employees for activity protected by § 7). We mus......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • U.S. v. Miami University, No. C-2-98-0097.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Ohio
    • March 20, 2000
    ...(1971) ("The administrative interpretation of the Act by the enforcing agency is entitled to great deference."); Arrow Elec. Co. v. NLRB, 155 F.3d 762, 765 n. 1 (6th Cir.1998); Bartling v. Fruehauf Corp., 29 F.3d 1062, 1072 (6th Cir.1994); Hamama v. INS, 78 F.3d 233, 239 (6th Cir.1996) (sta......
  • Trompler, Inc. v. N.L.R.B., No. 01-3606.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 1, 2003
    ...531, 538-39 (5th Cir.1963). On the other side, supporting the Board, are at least two circuits. See, e.g., Arrow Electric Co. v. NLRB, 155 F.3d 762, 765 (6th Cir.1998); First National Bank of Omaha v. NLRB, 413 F.2d 921, 923-24 (8th Cir.1969). Restless movement from one side of this conflic......
  • Trompler, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 01-3606.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 1, 2003
    ...531, 538-39 (5th Cir. 1963). On the other side, supporting the Board, are at least two circuits. See, e.g., Arrow Electric Co. v. NLRB, 155 F.3d 762, 765 Page 11 Cir. 1998); First National Bank of Omaha v. NLRB, 413 F.2d 921, 923-24 (8th Cir. 1969). Restless movement from one side of this c......
  • National Labor Relations v. Mains St Terrace, Nos. 99-5526
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • May 5, 2000
    ...an employee for engaging in activity protected by § 7 constitutes a violation of § 8(a)(1). See, e.g., Arrow Elec. Co. v. NLRB, 155 F.3d 762, 767 (6th Cir. 1998) (enforcing Board's determination that employer violated § 8(a)(1) by discharging employees for activity protected by § 7). We mus......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT