National Labor Relations Board v. Jacobs Mfg. Co., 169
|United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
|196 F.2d 680
|No. 169,Docket 22219.,169
|NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. JACOBS MFG. CO.
|09 May 1952
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George J. Bott, Gen. Counsel, David P. Findling, Associate Gen. Counsel, A. Norman Somers, Asst. Gen. Counsel, Frederick U. Reel and Samuel M. Singer, all of Washington, D. C., Attorneys, National Labor Relations Board, for petitioner.
Walfrid G. Lundborg and Shipman & Goodwin, all of Hartford, Conn., for respondent Jacobs Mfg. Co.
Before L. HAND, AUGUSTUS N. HAND and CHASE, Circuit Judges.
On July 15, 1948, the respondent and the representative of its employees, Local 379, United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, CIO, hereinafter called the union, executed a collective bargaining agreement affective for two years. It contained a clause which provided that, "After the expiration of one year from the date hereof either party may request a meeting after fifteen days written notice, the purpose of which shall be to discuss wage rates of employees covered by this agreement." During the negotiation of this contract certain changes in an existing group insurance program were discussed but nothing on that subject was put into the agreement. The subject of pensions for employees was not even discussed.
On July 15, 1949, the union formally exercised its right under the above quoted clause and, in its written notice to the respondent, requested a wage increase together with changes in the group insurance program and the adoption of a pension plan.
When the parties first met to discuss these demands, the respondent took the firm position that it could not raise wages because business conditions made it financially unable to do so. It refused to negotiate at all as to the subject of changes in the group insurance program and the setting up of a pension plan on the ground that neither of those subjects were within the scope of the reopening clause in the contract. The union requested permission to examine the respondent's books and sales records for the preceding year to "prove to the people in the plant that the company was not" able to increase wages but the respondent refused to furnish any such information on the ground that the determination of this question was a matter solely within its own business judgment. At a subsequent meeting of the parties there was substantially a repetition of what had transpired at the first meeting. Following that, the union made numerous requests for further meetings because it had "a great many arguments to offer both on wages and the workers' security" but the respondent declined, stating that its position remained unchanged and that the union should communicate "such new and different thoughts * * * in writing to us so that we may answer them by letter or in a meeting as requested by you."
On these facts, the Board held that the respondent had refused to bargain in good faith in violation of § 8(a) (1) and (5) of the Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 158 (a) (1) and (5), by refusing to meet and confer with the union after the second bargaining conference; by refusing to furnish the union with any information to support its position that it was financially unable to grant the requested wage increases; and by refusing to discuss the question of pensions.1
Decision as to enforcement turns upon the validity of the following parts of the order:
The respondent contends that it was under no statutory duty to confer with the union after the second meeting since all of the issues had been fully explored and the position of both parties expressed. Whether this was true, however, was a question of fact which the Board found adversely to the respondent. Since at both the meetings the respondent took the position that discussion of wage increases would be futile because it was financially unable to make them, and since it refused to discuss the other subjects at all, the Board was justified in concluding that the respondent had refused to bargain in good faith as the Act requires. Collective bargaining in compliance with the statute requires more than virtual insistence upon a prejudgment that no agreement could be reached by means of a discussion. Section 8(d) of the Act defines "collective bargaining" as the "obligation of the employer and the representative of the employees to meet at reasonable times and confer in good faith". This means cooperation in the give and take of personal conferences with a willingness to let ultimate decision follow a fair opportunity for the presentation of pertinent facts and arguments. This affirmative obligation was not satisfied by merely inviting the union to submit written offers for a settlement, nor by the bare assertion of a conclusion...
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