CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
Citation210 F. Supp. 752
Decision Date15 November 1962
Docket NumberCiv. No. 438.
PartiesArthur J. GOLDBERG, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor, Plaintiff, v. BARGER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, Inc., a Corporation, Defendant.

Reuben S. Haslam, Birmingham, Ala., for plaintiff.

W. Faison Barnes, Charlotte, N. C., for defendant.

CRAVEN, Chief Judge.

Are employees of a construction company engaged in building a new manufacturing plant in an occupation closely related to and directly essential to the production of goods for interstate commerce?

No talismanic or abstract tests, embodied in tags or formulae, can do service for judgment or dispense with painstaking appraisal of all the variant elements which must be considered to determine coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Mitchell v. H. B. Zachry Co., 362 U. S. 310, 80 S.Ct. 739, 4 L.Ed.2d 753; 29 U.S.C.A. § 201 et seq.

With the consent of the parties and pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure rule 39, the court finds the facts to be as follows:

The controversy arises out of the construction by the defendant of an industrial plant facility at Tifton, Georgia, for the Peerless Division of Burlington Industries. The concerned employees were employed from July 8, 1959 to January 20, 1960. It is agreed that defendant failed to pay overtime compensation for hours in excess of forty per week, and the amount of monies involved as to each employee is stipulated.

The Peerless Division consisted of plants at Cleveland, Tennessee; at Rossville, Georgia; and at Tifton, Georgia. All the plants were under the supervision of one general manager and together constituted the woolen fabric manufacturing division of Burlington Industries. The Tifton plant was, until 1959, engaged in manufacturing woolen fabric for men's wear from stock-dyed wool. The raw wool was scoured and stock-dyed at the Rossville plant. It was then shipped to the Tifton plant where it was processed into woolen fabric. The fabric was shipped to the Rossville plant for finishing.

In 1959, management, because of an unfavorable market for men's wear woolens, decided to start producing a woolen fabric, entirely new with Burlington, for women's sportswear. The old Tifton plant could not be used to manufacture both materials. A complete separation was necessary. Defendant constructed a new plant several miles from the old Tifton plant.

Most of the machinery in the old plant was installed in the new plant. Basically, the same type of machinery was used for both products. The old machinery was simply reworked to put it in shape to produce quality yarns. Part of the old plant was converted into a warehouse. The remainder of it was used to house a new blending and picking system that prepared the wool for the new plant. A new and separate finishing facility was installed at the Rossville plant to finish the new fabric. A new sales division was established by Burlington for the purpose of marketing the new fabric. After a retraining period, a considerable number of the employees from the old plant were re-employed in the new plant; employment at the old plant was about 150 people; the new one employed about 300 more, or approximately 450 people.

Actually, there is virtual agreement between the parties on the facts — both relying upon the deposition of E. H. Hines, Jr., President of Peerless Woolen Mills. The defendant contends, however, that the court should draw the inference that the entire new process begins at the new Tifton, Georgia plant. But it is clear that the scouring of the wool is not done at the new plant. The new plant operation consists of blending through the weaving of cloth, and it is plain that scoured wool is shipped into the Tifton plant. Except on this point, which does not seem to be of controlling importance, the parties are not in disagreement as to the facts.

The manufacturing cycle for the new fabric consists of the following elements: scoured wool is shipped into the old Tifton plant where it is picked, blended, and re-baled; this wool is sent to the new Tifton plant where it is processed into fabric; the fabric is shipped to the Rossville plant for finishing.

It is the Secretary's position that during the time that defendant's employees were engaged in the construction of the new Peerless plant at Tifton, Georgia, they were engaged in the "production of goods for commerce" within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and entitled to be paid for overtime at the rate specified in section 7(a) of the Act (29 U. S.C.A. § 207(a)).1 The Secretary's assertion is premised on the thought that the new plant is an extension and replacement of a production facility previously engaged in the production of goods for commerce.2 Defendant argues, on the other hand, that the new plant is an entirely new operation, unrelated to any previous facility, and not an extension or replacement.

Until 1955 the generally accepted theory was that employees engaged in "new construction" were not covered by the Act. In that year it was held in Mitchell v. C. W. Vollmer & Co., 349 U.S. 427, 75 S.Ct. 860, 99 L.Ed. 1196, that the test really is "whether the work is so directly and vitally related to the functioning of an instrumentality or facility of interstate commerce as to be, in practical effect, a part of it, rather than isolated, local activity."

Defendant relies very heavily upon Mitchell v. Tune, D.C., 178 F.Supp. 138 (1959). In that case an Ohio manufacturer of organs built a plant in Arkansas for the production of a completely new type of organ. The court held that the employees of the contractor who built the new plant were not engaged in the "production of goods for commerce" for the reason that the new plant was not such an extension of the Ohio plant as to be an integral part thereof.

That court, however, gave little or no weight to Vollmer. It noted that that case was concerned "with employees who were `engaged in commerce' rather than `in the production of goods for commerce.'" The court in Tune added that "(t)he effect of the Vollmer decision on the `new construction doctrine' as applied to workers engaged in the production of goods for commerce is somewhat in doubt."

If so, that doubt has now been resolved by Mitchell v. H. B. Zachry Co., 362 U. S. 310, 80 S.Ct. 739, 4 L.Ed.2d 753 (1960), which establishes that the Vollmer rejection of the "new construction" rule is not confined to coverage under the "in commerce" provision of the Act, but extends to the "production of goods for commerce" clause as well.

Zachry and Vollmer destroy the old notion that coverage under the Act can be made to turn on "new construction". Whether a facility is "new construction" or is an addition or extension of an old facility is still a relevant factor, to be considered with all other facts and circumstances, but that alone is not determinative. See: Goldberg v. Nello L. Teer Co., D.C., 208 F.Supp. 552 (1962). The so-called "new construction" rule no longer prevents coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Goldberg v. Wade Lahar Construction Co., 8 Cir., 290 F.2d 408, cert. denied 368 U.S. 902, 82 S.Ct. 176, 7 L.Ed.2d 96 (1961).3

It is now established that there are three gradations of coverage under the Act. Mitchell v. H. B. Zachry Co., 362 U.S. at 316, 80 S.Ct. at 743, 4 L.Ed. 2d at 759. See also A. B. Kirschbaum Co. v. Walling, 316 U.S. 517, 62 S.Ct. 1116, 86 L.Ed. 1638:

(1) Employment in commerce is most affected with the national interest and least affected by local interest;
(2) Employment in production for commerce is a step removed from the former, and therefore, from the national concern;
(3) Employment in an

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4 cases
  • Wirtz v. RE Lee Electric Company, 9322.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 14 Diciembre 1964
    ...of goods for commerce. See Mitchell v. H. B. Zachry Co., supra; Wirtz v. Modern Trashmoval, Inc., supra; Goldberg v. Barger Const. Co., 210 F.Supp. 752 (W.D. N.C. 1962). The Supreme Court has held that "* * Congress deemed the activities of the individual employees, not those of the employe......
  • Wirtz v. McDaniel
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 4 Diciembre 1963
    ...production of goods for commerce. See Goldberg v. Five Boro Construction Corp., 1 Cir., 1961, 291 F.2d 371; Goldberg v. Barger Construction Co., W.D.N.C., 1962, 210 F.Supp. 752; and Goldberg v. Dakota Flooring Co., D.C.N.D., 1961, 201 F.Supp. This case is reversed and remanded with directio......
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    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • 16 Noviembre 1962
    ......123, 67 L.Ed. 299 (1922), which held that a railroad company is not liable under the Federal Employers' Liability Act for an injury ......
  • Wirtz v. Day
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • 14 Septiembre 1965
    ...and there assembled many of the existing decisions and correlated their meaning in a well developed decision. Goldberg v. Barger Construction Co., D.C., 210 F.Supp. 752 (1962). Our difference is The United States Supreme Court in the Zachry case, which is the latest and evidently its most i......

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