National Labor Relations Bd. v. Mastro Plastics Corp.

Decision Date16 July 1954
Docket NumberNo. 190,Docket 22905.,190
Citation214 F.2d 462
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit

George J. Bott, Gen. Counsel, David P. Findling, Assoc. Gen. Counsel, A. Norman Somers, Asst. Gen. Counsel, Bernard Dunau, Harvey B. Diamond, Washington, D. C., for National Labor Relations Board, petitioner.

Brenner, Butter & McVeigh, New York City, Butler, Bennett & Fitzpatrick, New York City (Bernard H. Fitzpatrick, New York City, of counsel), for respondents.

Before CHASE, Chief Judge, and SWAN and FRANK, Circuit Judges.

CHASE, Chief Judge.

Local 3127, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the bargaining agent for respondents' employees, filed charges against Mastro Plastics Corp., and French-American Reeds Manufacturing Company, Inc., two New York corporations which, though separate corporate entities with separate payrolls, are under the same management, have the same employees and use the same plant. The charges, as amended, were that the respondents had engaged in unfair labor practices in violation of Section 8(a)(1), (2) and (3) of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947, 29 U.S.C.A. § 141 et seq. The substance of them was that the respondents by various unlawful means aided Local 318, International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers, in attempting to become bargaining agent for the respondents' employees during a time when they were represented by Local 3127; that an employee, one Frank Ciccone, was discriminatorily discharged because of his membership in, and activities on behalf of, Local 3127, and because of his refusal to join Local 318; that 76 other employees were unlawfully locked out or discharged for the same reasons; and that applications for reinstatement by these employees were rejected. The relief sought was a cease and desist order and reinstatement of the discharged employees with back pay.

Respondents' answer admitted the discharge of Ciccone and the other 76 employees, but denied allegations of unfair labor practices. For affirmative defenses, it was alleged that Ciccone was discharged for violating the instructions of his superiors and that the employment of the remaining 76 employees was lawfully terminated because they went on strike in violation of a collective bargaining contract and of Section 8(d) of the Act.

Hearings were held before a trial examiner in New York in March, 1952; findings sustaining the charges were made except as to the alleged lockout; and it was recommended that the affirmative defenses, which were established in point of fact, be held legally insufficient. On review the Board adopted the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the examiner, with one exception not relevant here, and the respondents were ordered, two members of the Board dissenting, to cease and desist from their unfair labor practices and to reinstate with back pay Frank Ciccone and the other 76 employees named. The unfair labor practices are no longer contested and the only part of the Board's order which is in contention is that requiring reinstatement of employees with back pay.

The facts are set forth in 100 N.L.R.B. No. 51, and only a brief résumé of them is now needed. Since 1948, when Local 31271 was certified by the New York State Labor Relations Board, it has been the bargaining agent for the respondents' employees. In August of 1950, Local 65 of the Wholesale and Warehouse Workers Union, which was regarded by the respondents as being communist dominated, started organizational activities among the employees. To combat Local 65 the respondents sought to replace Local 3127 with Local 318, International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers, the latter being a much stronger union, and from the middle of September until November 20, 1950, the respondents committed rather flagrant unfair labor practices to achieve that end. Local 318 was encouraged, sponsored, and actively assisted by the respondents in signing up the employees; some employees were rewarded for aiding Local 318; and the respondents' officers and supervisors made promises of benefit and threats of reprisal related to membership in the rival unions These activities culminated, on November 10, 1950, in the discharge of employee Frank Ciccone because of his activities on behalf of Local 3127 and his opposition to Local 318. His discharge precipitated a strike which, by the following day, involved all of the respondents' employees, and which lasted until March 9, 1951, when application for reinstatement of striking employees was made and denied as to Ciccone and the seventy-six who have been ordered reinstated with back pay.

About three months prior to the applications for reinstatement, on December 11, 1950, some of the respondents' employees returned to work and a form letter was sent to all employees remaining on strike notifying them that their employment had been terminated by reason of their striking in violation of the collective bargaining contract. The contract provision upon which the respondents relied reads as follows:

"5. The Union agrees that during the term of this agreement, there shall be no interference of any kind with the operations of the Employers, or any interruptions or slackening of work by any of its members. The Union further agrees to refrain from engaging in any strike or work stoppage during the term of this agreement."

As "the term of this agreement" did not expire until November 30, 1950, the strike did occur during the term and so it is contended that the strikers, by breaking the contract, lost the right to reinstatement.

However, since the strike was caused and prolonged by the respondents' unfair labor practices, we agree with the Board that it is not prohibited by the strike-waiver clause in the contract. That clause must be interpreted in the light of the entire contract of which it is an integral part, not as an isolated waiver unrelated to the rest of the agreement, and the inhibition it imposes is operative only as regards strikes growing out of disputes concerning those matters covered by the contract provisions or arising out of the normal relations of the parties. Instances of strikes to enforce changes in contract provisions which violate a no-strike clause, of which Scullin-Steel Company, 65 N.L.R.B. 1294, and Joseph Dyson & Sons, Inc., 72 N.L.R.B. 445, are examples, should be distinguished. The right of employees to strike in...

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9 cases
  • McCarroll v. Los Angeles County District Council of Carpenters
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • 13 septembre 1957
    ...and Bridge Workers, 7 Cir., 220 F.2d 126, 141, certiorari denied, 350 U.S. 981, 76 S.Ct. 446, 100 L.Ed. 850; N. L. R. B. v. Mastro Plastics Corp., 2 Cir., 214 F.2d 462, 465-466, affirmed, 350 U.S. 270, 76 S.Ct. 349, 100 L.Ed. 309; Snively Groves, Inc., 109 N.L.R.B. 1394, 1395; but cf. Local......
  • Federal Communications Commission v. Cohn
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • 5 septembre 1957 a whole "and in that posture related to the end in view." United States v. Vivian, 7 Cir., 224 F.2d 53, 56; N. L. R. B. v. Mastro Plastics Corp., 2 Cir., 214 F.2d 462, affirmed 350 U.S. 270, 76 S.Ct. 349, 100 L.Ed. 309, rehearing denied 351 U.S. 980, 76 S.Ct. 1043, 100 L.Ed. 1495.25 It s......
  • Mastro Plastics Corp v. National Labor Relations Board
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • 27 février 1956
    ...Appeals, with one judge dissenting in part, accepted the Board's findings of fact and conclusions of law and enforced the Board's order. 214 F.2d 462. Since then, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has reached a similar conclusion. National Labor Relations Board v. Wagner Iron Wor......
  • NLRB v. Mastro Plastics Corporation
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 9 décembre 1965
    ...the order required, inter alia, that the respondents reinstate the discriminatees with back pay. This court enforced that order, 214 F.2d 462 (1954), and the Supreme Court affirmed. 350 U.S. 270, 76 S.Ct. 349, 100 L.Ed. 309 The reinstatement question was resolved prior to the institution of......
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