Consolidated Edison Co of New York v. National Labor Relations Board International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v. Same 12 8212 17, 1938, Nos. 19

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHUGHES
Citation305 U.S. 197,83 L.Ed. 126,59 S.Ct. 206
PartiesCONSOLIDATED EDISON CO. OF NEW YORK, Inc. et al. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD et al. INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS et al. v. SAME. Argued Oct. 12—17, 1938
Docket Number25,Nos. 19
Decision Date05 December 1938

305 U.S. 197
59 S.Ct. 206
83 L.Ed. 126
CONSOLIDATED EDISON CO. OF NEW YORK, Inc. et al.

v.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD et al. INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS et al. v. SAME.

Nos. 19, 25.
Argued Oct. 12—17, 1938.
Decided Dec. 5, 1938.

[Syllabus from pages 197-203 intentionally omitted]

Page 203

Mr. Wm. L. Ransom, of New York City, for Petitioners Consolidated Edison Co. and others.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 203-210 intentionally omitted]

Page 210

Messrs. Homer S. Cummings, Atty. Gen., and Charles Fahy, of Washington, D.C., for respondent National Labor Relations Board.

[Argument of Counsel from Pages 210-211 intentionally omitted]

Page 212

Messrs. Isaac Lobe Straus, of Baltimore, Md., Claude A. Hope, of New York City, for Petitioners International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and others.

[Argument of Counsel from page 212 intentionally omitted]

Page 215

Mr. Joseph A. Padway, for petitioners in No. 25.

[Argument of Counsel from Pages 215-216 intentionally omitted]

Page 217

Messrs. Homer S. Cummings, Atty. Gen., and Louis B. Boudin, of New York City, for respondent-intervener United Electrical and Radio Workers of America.

Mr. Chief Justice HUGHES delivered the opinion of the Court.

The United Electrical and Radio Workers of America, affiliated with the Committee for Industrial Organization, filed a charge, on May 5, 1937, with the National Labor Relations Board that the Consolidated Edison Company of New York and its affiliated companies were interfering with the right of their employees to form, join or assist labor organizations of their own choosing and were contributing financial and other support, in the manner described, to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor. The Board issued its complaint and the employing companies, appearing specially, challenged its jurisdiction. On the denial of their request that this question be determined initially, the companies filed answers reserving their jurisdictional objections. After the taking of evidence before a trial examiner, the proceeding was transferred to the Board which on November 10, 1937, made its findings and order.

The order directed the companies to desist from labor practices found to be unfair and in violation of Section 8(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act,1 directed reinstatement of six discharged employees with back pay, and required the posting of notices to the effect that the companies would cease the described practices and that their employees were free to join or assist any labor or-

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ganization for the purpose of collective bargaining and would not be subject to discharge or to any discrimination by reason of their choice. 4 N.L.R.B. 71.

It appeared that between May 28, 1937, and June 16, 1937, the companies had entered into agreements with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and its local unions, providing for the recognition of the Brotherhood as the collective bargaining agency for those employees who were its members, and containing various stipulations as to hours, working conditions, wages, etc., and for arbitration in the event of disputes. The Board found that these contracts were executed under such circumstances that they were invalid and required the companies to desist from giving them effect. Id. At the same time the Board decided that the companies had not engaged in unfair labor practices within the meaning of Section 8(2) of the Act.2 That clause makes it an unfair labor practice to 'dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it'. Accordingly the order dismissed the complaint, so far as it alleged a violation of Section 8(2), without prejudice. Id.

The companies petitioned the Circuit Court of Appeals to set aside the order and a petition for the same purpose was presented by the Brotherhood and its locals. These labor organizations had not been parties to the proceeding before the Board but intervened in the Circuit Court of Appeals as parties aggrieved by the invalidation of their contracts. The Board in turn asked the court to enforce the order. The United Electrical and Radio Workers of America appeared in support of the Board. The court granted the Board's petition. 2 Cir., 95 F.2d 390. We issued writs of certiorari upon applications of the companies (No. 19) and of the Brotherhood and its locals (No. 25). 304 U.S. 555, 58 S.Ct. 1038, 82 L.Ed. 1524; 304 U.S. 555, 58 S.Ct. 1041, 82 L.Ed. 1524, May 16, 1938.

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The questions presented relate (1) to the jurisdiction of the Board; (2) to the fairness of the hearing; (3) to the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the findings of the Board with respect to coercive practices, discrimination and the discharge of employees; and (4) to the invalidation of the contracts with the Brotherhood and its locals.

The pertinent facts will be considered in connection with our discussion of these questions.

First.—The jurisdiction of the Board.—That is, was the proceeding within the scope of its authority validly conferred? The petitioning companies constitute an integrated system. With the exception of one company which maintains underground ducts for electrical conductors in New York City, they are all public utilities engaged in supplying electric energy, gas and steam (and certain by-products) within that City and adjacent Westchester County. The enterprise is one of great magnitude. The companies serve over 3,500,000 electric and gas customers,—a large majority using the service for residential and domestic purposes. In 1936 the companies supplied about 97.5 per cent. of the total electric energy sold in the City of New York and about one hundred per cent. of that sold in Westchester County. They do not sell for resale without the State. They have about 42,000 employees, their total payrolls in 1936, with retirement annuities and separation allowances, amounting to nearly $82,000,000.

Petitioners urge that these predominant intrastate activities, carried on under the plenary control of the State of New York in the exercise of its police power, are not subject to federal authority. It does not follow, however, because these operations of the utilities are of vast concern to the people of the City and State of New York, that they do not also involve the interests of interstate and foreign commerce in such a degree that the Federal

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Government was entitled to intervene for their protection. For example, the governance of the intrastate rates of a railroad company may be of great importance to the State and an appropriate object of the exertion of its power, but the Federal Government may still intervene to protect interstate commerce from injury caused by intrastate operations and to that end may override intrastate rates and supply a dominant federal rule. The Shreveport Case, Houston, E. & W.T. Ry. Co. v. United States, 234 U.S. 342, 34 S.Ct. 833, 58 L.Ed. 1341; Wisconsin Railroad Commission v. Chicago, B. & Q. Ry. Co.,257 U.S. 563, 42 S.Ct. 232, 66 L.Ed. 371, 22 A.L.R. 1086; New York v. United States, 257 U.S. 591, 42 S.Ct. 239, 66 L.Ed. 385. See, also, National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, 301 U.S. 1, 37—41, 57 S.Ct. 615, 624—626, 81 L.Ed. 893, 108 A.L.R. 1352.

In the present instance we may lay on one side, as did the Circuit Court of Appeals, the mere purchases by the utilities of the supplies of oil, coal, etc., although very large, which come from without the State and are consumed in the generation and distribution of electric energy and gas. Apart from those purchases, there is undisputed and impressive evidence of the dependence of interstate and foreign commerce upon the continuity of the service of the petitioning companies. They supply electric energy to the New York Central Railroad Company, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company, and the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company (operating a tunnel service to New Jersey) for the lighting and operation of passenger and freight terminals, and for the movement of interstate trains. They supply the Port of New York Authority with electric energy for the operation of its terminal and the Holland Tunnel. They supply a majority of the piers of trans-Atlantic and coastal steamship companies along the North and East Rivers, within the City of New York, for lighting, freight handling and related uses. They serve the Western Union Telegraph Company, the Postal Telegraph Company, and the New York Telephone Com-

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pany with power for transmitting and receiving messages, local and interstate. They supply electric energy for the trans-Atlantic radio service of the Radio Corporation of America. They provide electric energy for the Floyd Bennett Air Field in Brooklyn for various purposes, including field illumination, a radio beam and obstruction lighting. Under contracts with the Federal Government they supply electric energy for six lighthouses and eight beacon or harbor lights; also light, heat and power for the general post office and branch post offices, the United States Barge Office, the Customs House, appraisers' warehouse and various federal office buildings.

It cannot be doubted that these activities, while conducted within the State, are matters of federal concern. In their totality they rise to such a degree of importance that the fact that they involve but a small part of the entire service rendered by the utilities in their extensive business is immaterial in the consideration of the existence of the federal protective power. The effect upon interstate and foreign commerce of an interruption through industrial strife of the service of the petitioning companies was vividly described by the Circuit Court of Appeals in these words: 'Instantly, the terminals and trains...

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15380 practice notes
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register August 14, 2008
    • August 14, 2008
    ...probative force. Mere uncorroborated hearsay or rumor does not constitute substantial evidence. Consolidated Edison Co. v. N.L.R.B., 305 U.S. 197, 230, 59 S.Ct. 206, 217, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938). Therefore, the hearsay testimony of other employees would not have amounted to substantial evidence......
  • Bruster v. Saul, Civil Action No. 8:18-cv-02866-CMC-JDA
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • August 30, 2019
    ...as adequate to support the conclusion. See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)); Laws v. Celebrezze, 368 F.2d 640, 642 (4th Cir. 1966) (citing Woolridge v. Celebrezze, 214 F. Supp. 686, 687 (S.D.W. Va. 1963)) (&q......
  • CITY & COUNTY OF DENVER, ETC. v. Bergland, Civ. A. No. 79-K-611.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • June 2, 1981
    ...mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'" Id. at 620, 86 S.Ct. at 1026 (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. N.L.R.B., 305 U.S. 197, 229, 59 S.Ct. 206, 216, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938)). Substantial evidence is "something less than the weight of the evidence, and the possibil......
  • Hey v. Colvin, Civil No. 14–1704 (DSD/FLN)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • September 30, 2015
    ...See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 28 L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (citing Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 220, 59 S.Ct. 206, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938) ). In determining whether evidence is substantial, a court must also consider whatever is in the record that fairl......
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15841 cases
  • Press Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 7482
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • December 9, 1940
    ...law does not prohibit the right of opinion on the part of the employer, nor the expression of it. Consolidated Edison Co. v. Labor Board, 305 U.S. 197, 230, 59 S.Ct. 206, 83 L.Ed. 126; Labor Board v. Union Pacific Stages, 9 Cir., 99 F.2d 153, 178, 179; Jefferson Electric Co. v. Labor Board,......
  • State v. United States Dep't of Health, Nos. 11–11021
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • August 12, 2011
    ...that Congress may adopt “reasonable preventive measures” to avoid future disruptions of interstate commerce. Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 222, 59 S.Ct. 206, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938) (“[I]t cannot be maintained that the exertion of federal power must await the disruption of [intersta......
  • Durden v. Colvin, Civ. No. 1:15–cv–0118
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • March 3, 2016
    ..." Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 564, 108 S.Ct. 2541, 101 L.Ed.2d 490 (1988) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. N.L.R.B., 305 U.S. 197, 229, 59 S.Ct. 206, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938) ). Substantial evidence requires only ‘more than a mere scintilla’ of evidence, Plummer v. Apfel, 186 F.3d 422,......
  • Weatherspoon v. Kijakazi, Civil Action 1:20-00075-N
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Southern District of Alabama
    • September 14, 2021
    ...and asks whether it contains “sufficien[t] evidence” to support the agency's factual determinations. Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229, 59 S.Ct. 206, 83 126 (1938) (emphasis deleted). And whatever the meaning of “substantial” in other contexts, the threshold for such eviden......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 provisions
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register August 14, 2008
    • August 14, 2008
    ...probative force. Mere uncorroborated hearsay or rumor does not constitute substantial evidence. Consolidated Edison Co. v. N.L.R.B., 305 U.S. 197, 230, 59 S.Ct. 206, 217, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938). Therefore, the hearsay testimony of other employees would not have amounted to substantial evidence......

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