McLeod v. General Electric Company, No. 66 Civ. 2155.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
Writing for the CourtFRANKEL
Citation257 F. Supp. 690
PartiesIvan C. McLEOD, Regional Director of the Second Region of the National Labor Relations Board for and on behalf of the NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner, v. GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 66 Civ. 2155.
Decision Date18 August 1966

257 F. Supp. 690

Ivan C. McLEOD, Regional Director of the Second Region of the National Labor Relations Board for and on behalf of the NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner,
v.
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, Respondent.

No. 66 Civ. 2155.

United States District Court S. D. New York.

August 18, 1966.


257 F. Supp. 691
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
257 F. Supp. 692
Arnold Ordman, Gen. Counsel, Dominick L. Manoli, Assoc. Gen. Counsel, Julius G. Serot, Asst. Gen. Counsel, for petitioner Sidney Danielson, Jacques Schurre, Oscar Geltman, Alan H. Randall, New York City, of counsel

Nordlinger, Riegelman, Benetar & Charney, New York City, for respondent, David L. Benetar, Thomas F. Hilbert, Jr., Richard P. Lawlor, Herbert D. Schwartzman, New York City, of counsel.

Irving Abramson, New York City, Ruth Weyand, Washington, D. C., for the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, AFL-CIO, the charging party.

OPINION

FRANKEL, District Judge.

On May 9, 1966, the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, AFL-CIO (IUE) filed with the National Labor Relations Board a charge alleging that respondent, General Electric Company, had violated Sections 7, 8(a) (1), and 8(a) (5) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 157, 158(a) (1), and 158 (a) (5), by refusing, on and after May 4, 1966, to recognize, meet, and bargain with an IUE bargaining committee. On July 13, 1966, the Board's General Counsel, through Regional Director McLeod, petitioner herein, issued a complaint and notice of hearing on the charge. Two days later, by order to show cause, the Regional Director, for the Board, petitioned under Section 10(j) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. § 160(j), for a temporary injunction restraining the allegedly unlawful conduct. An evidentiary hearing was conducted through the week beginning July 25, 1966. Now, upon the record thus made, and instructed by the able briefs and oral presentations of counsel,1 the court reaches the following findings and conclusions.

257 F. Supp. 693

I.

The respondent is a New York corporation engaged in the manufacture, sale, and distribution of electrical and electronic equipment, chemicals, plastics and other things, including a variety of products for the national defense and atomic energy programs. It has some 290,000 employees, over 60 plants spread through 30 states, and more than 400 other installations (service establishments, warehouses, etc.), so that its physical properties and operations reach into every State in the Union. Approximately half its employees are unionized, and there is a total of about 150 bargaining units. Overall, the Company deals with more than 80 labor unions.

For the most part, respondent bargains, at least formally, in separate negotiations for each bargaining unit. The three exceptions to this pattern are the IUE, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE), and the Pattern Makers' League. With these three Internationals, the practice has been to negotiate national agreements, supplemented by local unit agreements to encompass particular local conditions and problems.

The IUE represents about 80,000 of respondent's employees in some 65 to 70 bargaining units. In a substantial portion of these units, the International Union as such is the certified representative. In others an IUE local is certified. Notwithstanding the individual unit certifications, and the differing designations of the International or a local as representative, the practice, as noted above, has been to conduct national bargaining for a national agreement covering all IUE units, supplemented by local agreements. The local agreements are designed as additions to, not variations from, the national contracts, which cover such basic matters as wages, hours, seniority, and arbitration procedures.

For these national negotiations, the IUE elects a General Electric Conference Board, comprised of representatives from both the International and local unions. The Conference Board in turn elects some 10 to 15 or more members to a Negotiating Committee, which meets at the bargaining table with a group designated by the Company.2 In addition to these elected members, the Negotiating Committee has normally included people like the Union's general counsel, publicity workers, the research director, and other technicians. These additional members participate in discussions at the bargaining table and in the Negotiating Committee's internal councils, but they have no voting rights, which are reserved to the elected members. As will appear below, the nub of the present controversy is the extent of IUE's right to designate such additional, non-voting members of its Negotiating Committee—or, conversely, of the Company's right to hold such designees unacceptable or impermissible.

To complete briefly the procedural outlines on the Union's side: the Negotiating Committee is required to report on the progress of bargaining to the Conference Board. From time to time there are minority as well as majority reports. The Conference Board determines the Union's position on any given question, including ultimately whether a proposed national agreement should be signed.

In recent years the Company has developed a fairly uniform course for

257 F. Supp. 694
handling and coordinating its national and local bargaining activities. As described by its Labor Relations Counsel, the practice is to formulate a set of national company proposals for presentation to the IUE and the UE, two of the three unions with which there is bargaining on a national scale. Before these proposals are presented to the unions, the Company's employee relations managers are called to the New York main office, where copies are given and explained to them. The Company then presents the proposals to the IUE and UE. Normally within a day or two thereafter (in one instance, at the IUE's request, there was a five-day delay), upon instructions from the New York headquarters, the same proposals are given by the local managers to the local representatives around the country of all the varying unions with which the Company deals on a so-called local basis—e. g., locals of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), International Association of Machinists (IAM), Sheet Metal Workers (SMU), and others. At the same time, and commonly before the unions have announced their acceptance or rejection, the uniform set of proposals is publicized to the Company's employees. This mode of centralized administration, despite the multiplicity of bargaining units and representatives, is rendered feasible in part because the Company's collective agreements, with an insignificant number of exceptions, have uniform expiration dates

Testimony for the Company indicates that its local managers have some small measure of discretion for handling local problems by means of particularized local provisions. The discretion ends, however, at the point where questions deviate from the routine. At this point, the local managers are expected to seek advice, and evidently consent, from the New York office. Whatever the precise internal definition of these managerial powers may be, the ultimate fact is that all of the Company's offers to the many unions turn out to be substantially uniform in their basic provisions. And the substantial uniformity appears to extend to the agreements eventually concluded.

For some years before the events giving rise to this proceeding, the IUE and other unions representing respondent's employees were growing increasingly restive and self-critical over the results of their separate, mutually isolated efforts to cope with the Company's centralized bargaining strategy. They found themselves outmaneuvered repeatedly when the Company announced that one or more unions had accepted a proposal and used this as leverage to wrest agreement from a more obstinate representative. They believed (although it is unnecessary for present purposes to decide whether they were right) that the Company's technique had tended to divide and conquer them, so that the terms and conditions of employment for General Electric employees had fallen behind others in comparable industries. They concluded that a program of mutually agreed "national goals" was needed to meet the Company's offering of identical national proposals. It was thought moreover, that there should be a means and a program for communication between the interested unions, mutual research assistance, coordinated publicity—in short, a substantial measure of "unity" and joint bargaining.

Acting on such views, the AFL-CIO, through its President, George Meany, called a meeting in October 1965 of a group of presidents or other representatives of international unions which (or locals of which) had bargaining relationships with respondent. Christened the Committee on Collective Bargaining, the group at its initial meeting contained officials of the IUE, IBEW, IAM, United Automobile Workers (UAW), Allied Industrial Workers (AIW), and American Federation of Technical Engineers (AFTE).3 It was determined at the meeting that there should be a

257 F. Supp. 695
"coordinated approach" to the forthcoming 1966 negotiations with respondent. A Steering Committee was named, with responsibility for implementing the initial policy determinations, and the structure of some other committees was outlined. It was agreed that there should be a cooperative program of research, education, and publicity, and an effort to evolve a set of "national goals" on wages and other working conditions. It was understood that each individual union, within its own constitutional framework, would control its own bargaining and retain the autonomous power to decide what agreements it might make with respondent. It was also understood, however, at least tacitly, that there would be consultation and an exchange of views if and when any union in the group decided to abandon or deviate from...

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17 practice notes
  • NLRB v. General Electric Company, No. 337
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • October 28, 1969
    ...another suit over proper representation arising out of the 1966 negotiations. McLeod for and on Behalf of NLRB v. General Electric Co., 257 F.Supp. 690 (S.D.N.Y.), rev'd 366 F.2d 847 (2d Cir. 1966), remanded 385 U.S. 533, 87 S.Ct. 637, 17 L.Ed.2d 588 (1967). See also General Electric Co. v.......
  • Rivera-Vega v. ConAgra, Inc., Civ. No. 94-1798-DRD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • February 10, 1995
    ...expertise which would be available to them in reviewing the Board's holdings and enforcement proceedings". McLeod v. General Electric 257 F.Supp. 690 (S.D.N.Y.), rev'd 366 F.2d 847, 850 (2d Cir.1966). As noted in Boire v. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc., 515 F.2d 1185, 1193 (5th Cir.1975), "th......
  • Boire v. INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, ETC., No. 73-1003.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 15, 1973
    ...Act: Suggested Reforms for an Expanded Use, 13 B.C.Ind. & Comm.L.Rev. 457 (1972). 9 McLeod v. General Electric Co., S.D.N.Y. 1966, 257 F.Supp. 690, rev'd, 2 Cir. 1966, 366 F.2d 847, stay granted, 87 S.Ct. 5, 17 L.Ed.2d 45 (Harlan, J.), vacated as Moot, 1967, 385 U.S. 533, 87 S.Ct. 637, 17 L......
  • Prudential Insurance Company of America v. NLRB, No. 488
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • May 2, 1969
    ...(2 Cir. 1966); NLRB v. Penn Cork & Closures, Inc., 376 F.2d 52, 57 (2 Cir. 1967); McLeod on Behalf of N. L. R. B. v. General Elec. Co., 257 F.Supp. 690, 708 n. 14 (S.D.N.Y.1966); Peck, A Critique of the National Labor Relations Board's Performance in Policy Formulation: Adjudication and Rul......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • NLRB v. General Electric Company, No. 337
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • October 28, 1969
    ...another suit over proper representation arising out of the 1966 negotiations. McLeod for and on Behalf of NLRB v. General Electric Co., 257 F.Supp. 690 (S.D.N.Y.), rev'd 366 F.2d 847 (2d Cir. 1966), remanded 385 U.S. 533, 87 S.Ct. 637, 17 L.Ed.2d 588 (1967). See also General Electric Co. v.......
  • Rivera-Vega v. ConAgra, Inc., Civ. No. 94-1798-DRD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • February 10, 1995
    ...expertise which would be available to them in reviewing the Board's holdings and enforcement proceedings". McLeod v. General Electric 257 F.Supp. 690 (S.D.N.Y.), rev'd 366 F.2d 847, 850 (2d Cir.1966). As noted in Boire v. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc., 515 F.2d 1185, 1193 (5th Cir.1975), "th......
  • Boire v. INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, ETC., No. 73-1003.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 15, 1973
    ...Act: Suggested Reforms for an Expanded Use, 13 B.C.Ind. & Comm.L.Rev. 457 (1972). 9 McLeod v. General Electric Co., S.D.N.Y. 1966, 257 F.Supp. 690, rev'd, 2 Cir. 1966, 366 F.2d 847, stay granted, 87 S.Ct. 5, 17 L.Ed.2d 45 (Harlan, J.), vacated as Moot, 1967, 385 U.S. 533, 87 S.Ct. 637, 17 L......
  • Prudential Insurance Company of America v. NLRB, No. 488
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • May 2, 1969
    ...(2 Cir. 1966); NLRB v. Penn Cork & Closures, Inc., 376 F.2d 52, 57 (2 Cir. 1967); McLeod on Behalf of N. L. R. B. v. General Elec. Co., 257 F.Supp. 690, 708 n. 14 (S.D.N.Y.1966); Peck, A Critique of the National Labor Relations Board's Performance in Policy Formulation: Adjudication and Rul......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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