NLRB v. Arkansas Grain Corporation, No. 18848.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtVAN OOSTERHOUT, Jurge, MATTHES, Circuit and HARRIS
Citation392 F.2d 161
Decision Date03 April 1968
Docket NumberNo. 18848.
PartiesNATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner, v. ARKANSAS GRAIN CORPORATION, Respondent.

392 F.2d 161 (1968)

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner,
v.
ARKANSAS GRAIN CORPORATION, Respondent.

No. 18848.

United States Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit.

April 3, 1968.


392 F.2d 162
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
392 F.2d 163
Harold B. Shore, Atty., N.L.R.B., Washington, D. C., for petitioner; Arnold Ordman, Gen. Counsel, N.L.R.B., Dominick L. Manoli, Associate Gen. Counsel, N.L.R.B., Marcel Mallet-Prevost, Asst. Gen. Counsel, N.L.R.B., and Glen M. Bendixsen, Atty., N.L.R.B., were on the brief with Mr. Shore

B. S. Clark, of Smith, Williams, Friday & Bowen, Little Rock, Ark., for respondent and filed brief.

Before VAN OOSTERHOUT, Chief Jurge, MATTHES, Circuit Judge and HARRIS, Chief District Judge.

HARRIS, Chief District Judge.

The National Labor Relations Board petitions this Court for the enforcement of its order issued against the Arkansas Grain Corporation August 2, 1966, pursuant to Section 10(e) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, 29 U. S.C.A. §§ 151 et seq. The decision and order are reported in 160 NLRB No. 28. Jurisdiction is established.

The Board found that the respondent had violated:

(1) Section 8(a) (1) of the Act by coercively interrogating Ted Meek about the union and his union activities and those of other employees; and

(2) Section 8(a) (3) and (1) of the Act by discriminatorily discharging Employee Meek because of his activity in support of the union.1

The Trial Examiner, after a hearing and in consideration of the entire record, entered a decision and recommended an order of dismissal of all charges. The Board, after reviewing the rulings of the Trial Examiner made at the hearing, found no prejudicial error and the rulings were affirmed. The Trial Examiner concluded that the interrogation by the respondent, through its agent Ragsdale, was such as to not interfere with, restrain or coerce its employees in the exercise of any of the rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act, and that the general counsel failed to meet the burden of proof necessary for a finding of a discriminatory discharge under the Act of

392 F.2d 164
Employee Meek. The Board reversed the decision of the Trial Examiner and held the actions of the respondent to be violative of the Act

Arkansas Grain Corporation is engaged in the business of processing and selling soy bean oil and meal. Its Helena division at Helena, Arkansas, was established in 1963. From outlying plants in the state soy beans are received from the farmers and shipped to the Helena processing plant. The beans are received by the Corporation's terminal elevators for drying and storing. Subsequently they are processed into soy bean oil and soy bean meal. Most of the product is exported.

The alleged unfair labor practices resulted from activities to organize the employees for union representation at the Helena division plant. A successful election was held on April 23, 1965. The plant at that time had a total of ninety employees, seventy-five of whom were eligible to vote in the election.

The actions upon which the asserted charges are brought against the respondent began in January and continued through the election. Only one employee, Ted Meek, was involved. There is no evidence that any attempt was made to interrogate any of the other employees during the period leading up to and including the election.2 The Board appears to have based its decision upon the uncorroborated testimony of Employee Meek, the Board's principal witness, and inferences from the record.

Respondent's principal witnesses were Stephen Ragsdale, a foreman, and Frank McDonald, superintendent. Only Ragsdale, for the respondent, was involved with the alleged interrogation and discharge. He was Meek's foreman.3 There were conflicts in the testimony of Meek and Ragsdale. Meek credibly testified that Ragsdale had asked him about union activities some 8 or 10 times during the period preceding the April 23, 1965, election.4 Even though he answered the inquiries untruthfully, except on one occasion he stated there was no coercion, threats of reprisal, intimidation or promises.

There are two issues for determination: First, did the respondent, through its agent Ragsdale, unlawfully interrogate its Employee Meek; and second, was respondent's discharge of Meek and its refusal to reinstate him unlawful?

The question for the Court is whether there was substantial testimony to support the Board's findings. The law applicable has been stated by this Court and other courts numerous times and appears to be well settled. Acme Products, Inc. v. N.L.R.B., 389 F.2d 104 (8 Cir., February 13, 1968); Universal Camera Corporation v. N.L.R.B., 340 U.S. 474, 71 S.Ct. 456, 95 L.Ed. 456. The findings of the Board must be supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole.

The findings and conclusions of the Trial Examiner are a necessary part of the record. The Administrative Procedure Act provides that "all decisions, including initial, recommended, and tentative decisions, are a part of the record * * *". 5 U.S.C.A. § 557(c). The provisions of this Act for judicial review are construed to be applicable to

392 F.2d 165
the National Labor Relations Act. The Supreme Court in the Universal Camera case stated the rule as to the weight to be given to the Examiner's findings, as follows
"We do not require that the examiner\'s findings be given more weight than in reason and in the light of judicial experience they deserve. The `substantial evidence\' standard is not modified in any way when the Board and its examiner disagree. We intend only to recognize that evidence supporting a conclusion may be less substantial when an impartial, experienced examiner who has observed the witnesses and lived with the case has drawn conclusions different from the Board\'s than when he has reached the same conclusion. The findings of the examiner are to be considered along with the consistency and inherent probability of testimony. The significance of his report, of course, depends largely on the importance of credibility in the particular case. To give it this significance does not seem to us materially more difficult than to heed the other factors which in sum determine whether evidence is `substantial\'." 340 U.S. 474, 496, 71 S.Ct. 456, 469.

The Trial Examiner has an important function, which was provided by Congress in its wisdom in the passage of the Act. His duties are independent from the administrative responsibility. It is clear, however, that the Board is not conclusively bound by his findings. Neither is the Court bound by the Board's rejection of a Trial Examiner's findings.

In Universal Camera the Court of Appeals deemed itself bound by the Board's rejection of the Examiner's findings. The Supreme Court succinctly stated, "they are not". The Taft-Hartley Act provides that "the findings of the Board with respect to questions of fact if supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole shall be conclusive". 29 U.S.C.A. § 160(e).

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11 practice notes
  • Pickens-Bond Const. Co. v. Case, PICKENS-BOND
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • July 9, 1979
    ...accept as adequate to support a conclusion," as stated by the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. See NLRB v. Arkansas Grain Corp., 392 F.2d 161 (8 Cir., 1978). See also, Easttam v. Secretary of Health, Education & Welfare, 364 F.2d 509 (8 Cir., 1966). Substantiality is a question of l......
  • Royal Typewriter Co. v. N.L.R.B., AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • April 29, 1976
    ...negotiations we find the Board's decision to reject this contention to be supported by the record. Cf. NLRB v. Arkansas Grain Corp., 392 F.2d 161, 165-66 (8th Cir. 1968). See generally NLRB v. Gissel Packing Co., supra, 395 U.S. at 617, 89 S.Ct. at 1941, 23 L.Ed.2d at The Administrative Law......
  • Henley v. United States, Civ. No. 73-341.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • August 13, 1974
    ...and must do more than create a suspicion of the existence of the fact sought to be established. N. L. R. B. v. Arkansas Grain Corp., 392 F.2d 161 (8th Cir. 1968). The evidence must afford a "substantial basis of fact from which the fact in issue can be reasonably inferred (citations omitted......
  • Mead and Mount Construction Co. v. NLRB, No. 19234.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • July 14, 1969
    ...Labor Relations Board v. Kay Electronics, Inc., 410 F.2d 499 (8th Cir. April 30, 1969); N. L. R. B. v. Arkansas Grain Corporation, 392 F.2d 161, 167-168 (8th Cir. 1968); Singer Company, Wood Products Division v. N. L. R. B., 371 F.2d 623, 624 (8th Cir. 1967); N. L. R. B. v. Melrose Processi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • Pickens-Bond Const. Co. v. Case, PICKENS-BOND
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • July 9, 1979
    ...accept as adequate to support a conclusion," as stated by the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. See NLRB v. Arkansas Grain Corp., 392 F.2d 161 (8 Cir., 1978). See also, Easttam v. Secretary of Health, Education & Welfare, 364 F.2d 509 (8 Cir., 1966). Substantiality is a question of l......
  • Royal Typewriter Co. v. N.L.R.B., AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • April 29, 1976
    ...negotiations we find the Board's decision to reject this contention to be supported by the record. Cf. NLRB v. Arkansas Grain Corp., 392 F.2d 161, 165-66 (8th Cir. 1968). See generally NLRB v. Gissel Packing Co., supra, 395 U.S. at 617, 89 S.Ct. at 1941, 23 L.Ed.2d at The Administrative Law......
  • Henley v. United States, Civ. No. 73-341.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • August 13, 1974
    ...and must do more than create a suspicion of the existence of the fact sought to be established. N. L. R. B. v. Arkansas Grain Corp., 392 F.2d 161 (8th Cir. 1968). The evidence must afford a "substantial basis of fact from which the fact in issue can be reasonably inferred (citations omitted......
  • Mead and Mount Construction Co. v. NLRB, No. 19234.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • July 14, 1969
    ...Labor Relations Board v. Kay Electronics, Inc., 410 F.2d 499 (8th Cir. April 30, 1969); N. L. R. B. v. Arkansas Grain Corporation, 392 F.2d 161, 167-168 (8th Cir. 1968); Singer Company, Wood Products Division v. N. L. R. B., 371 F.2d 623, 624 (8th Cir. 1967); N. L. R. B. v. Melrose Processi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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