NLRB v. Covington Motor Company, No. 9619.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBOREMAN, BRYAN and BELL, Circuit
Citation344 F.2d 136
PartiesNATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner, v. COVINGTON MOTOR COMPANY, Inc., Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 9619.
Decision Date29 March 1965

344 F.2d 136 (1965)

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner,
v.
COVINGTON MOTOR COMPANY, Inc., Respondent.

No. 9619.

United States Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit.

Argued February 1, 1965.

Decided March 29, 1965.


Linda R. Sher, Atty., N. L. R. B. (Arnold Ordman, Gen. Counsel, Dominick L. Manoli, Assoc. Gen. Counsel, Marcel Mallet-Prevost, Asst. Gen. Counsel, and Elliott Moore, Atty., N. L. R. B., on brief), for petitioner.

George V. Gardner, Washington, D. C. (Gardner, Gandal & Holroyd, Washington, D. C., on brief), for respondent.

Before BOREMAN, BRYAN and BELL, Circuit Judges.

ALBERT V. BRYAN, Circuit Judge.

The National Labor Relations Board now asks us to enforce its order imposing sanctions upon the Covington Motor Company, Inc. for violating §§ 8(a) (1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 158(a) (1) and (3). 146 NLRB 4. The offending conduct consisted of (a) the interrogation of employee Harry R. Wolfe about the union activities of other employees, and (b) the discharge of Wolfe assertedly for promoting unionization of the company's

344 F.2d 137
repair division. Since, on our search of "the record as a whole", we think the factual premises of the order are not "supported by substantial evidence", we decline to enforce it. Universal Camera Corp. v. National Labor Relations Board, 340 U.S. 474, 491, 71 S.Ct. 456, 95 L.Ed. 456 (1951)

In the latter part of March 1963 the United Papermakers and Paperworkers, AFL-CIO, attempted to organize the employees in the company's garage at Covington, Virginia. The program encompassed the service departments of every automobile dealer in the city. During the campaign the union wrote the respondent company on April 2, 1963 claiming representation of a majority of its service employees. Replying on April 5, 1963, the company denied the claim, expressed its preference for an election under the direction of the National Labor Relations Board and added its opposition to a union as unneeded and unhelpful. These letters were posted on the company's bulletin board.

Meanwhile, on March 27, 1963, Wolfe, a mechanic in the body shop, asked the union for authorization cards on behalf of several co-workers who wished the union to act for them. The cards were brought to Wolfe at the garage by Clarence Farmer, an official of the union local. Although occasionally at the shop as a customer, Farmer did not want to be seen with Wolfe, so after handing Wolfe the cards, they stepped into a small enclosure to talk. As he left, Farmer says he waved to Wallace Byer, secretary-treasurer of the company, then standing at the office door. He was positive that Byer had not observed him with Wolfe.

An hour or so afterwards, according to Wolfe, he was informed by an associate of a call for him on the telephone. Wolfe testifies he thought the caller was Farmer and in reply to his question Wolfe named several of the garage men who had signed authorization cards. However, he further says, that just after the conversation ended, he realized the inquirer was Byer. He had frequently talked by phone to Byer and knew his voice well, but he does not explain his failure to identify Byer at once.

Although they were at hand and, in fact, one of them had summoned him to the phone, Wolfe did not tell any of the card signers of the call. Nor did he afterwards say anything to Byer about the incident. Indeed, he did not refer to it again until the next day when he mentioned it to Earl Bailey, the president of the company, while in his office at lunch time. As he related it to Bailey, Wolfe had given Byer no names. Byer disclaimed any knowledge of such a call.

The telephone call constitutes the interrogation the Board now assigns as violative of § 8(a) (1) of the Act. As is evident, the proof to connect Byer with the event is frail. Even if it were substantial, the inquiry was permitted by § 8(c) of the Act, for it was...

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11 practice notes
  • N.L.R.B. v. Appletree Chevrolet, Inc., AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • November 1, 1979
    ...1016, 1024-28; Maphis Chapman Corp. v. N. L. R. B. (4th Cir. 1966) 368 F.2d 298, 304; N. L. R. B. v. Covington Motor Co. (4th Cir. 1965) 344 F.2d 136, 138; Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. N. L. R. B. (4th Cir. 1942) 127 F.2d 109, 114-117; Waterbury Community Antenna, Inc. v. N. L. R. B. (2d Cir. 1......
  • Hughes & Hatcher, Inc. v. NLRB, No. 17412
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • April 17, 1968
    ...or the general activity of the union, absent interference or coercion, does not violate the Act. See e. g., NLRB v. Covington Motor Co., 344 F.2d 136, 137 (4th Cir. 1965); Federation of Union Representatives v. NLRB, 339 F.2d 126, 130-131 (2nd Cir. 1964); Lincoln Bearing Co. v. NLRB, 311 F.......
  • Jervis Corporation, Bolivar Division v. NLRB, No. 17340.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 13, 1967
    ...Act in NLRB v. Dale Industries, Inc., supra, 355 F.2d 851, 853 (6th Cir. 1966). Still further, it was held in NLRB v. Covington Motor Co., 344 F.2d 136 (4th Cir. 1965), that the act of asking an employee how many employees had signed authorization cards was not a violation of the 3 A discus......
  • Neptune Water Meter Co., a Div. of Neptune Intern. Corp. v. N.L.R.B., No. 76-1097
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • March 11, 1977
    ...2 And in Maphis Chapman Corporation v. N.L.R.B. (4th Cir. 1966) 368 F.2d 298, N.L.R.B. v. Covington Motor Company (4th Cir. Page 572 1965) 344 F.2d 136 and N.L.R.B. v. Threads, Incorporated (4th Cir. 1962) 308 F.2d 1, this principle was applied where the employer was charged with an "anti-U......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • N.L.R.B. v. Appletree Chevrolet, Inc., AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • November 1, 1979
    ...1016, 1024-28; Maphis Chapman Corp. v. N. L. R. B. (4th Cir. 1966) 368 F.2d 298, 304; N. L. R. B. v. Covington Motor Co. (4th Cir. 1965) 344 F.2d 136, 138; Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. N. L. R. B. (4th Cir. 1942) 127 F.2d 109, 114-117; Waterbury Community Antenna, Inc. v. N. L. R. B. (2d Cir. 1......
  • Hughes & Hatcher, Inc. v. NLRB, No. 17412
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • April 17, 1968
    ...or the general activity of the union, absent interference or coercion, does not violate the Act. See e. g., NLRB v. Covington Motor Co., 344 F.2d 136, 137 (4th Cir. 1965); Federation of Union Representatives v. NLRB, 339 F.2d 126, 130-131 (2nd Cir. 1964); Lincoln Bearing Co. v. NLRB, 311 F.......
  • Jervis Corporation, Bolivar Division v. NLRB, No. 17340.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 13, 1967
    ...Act in NLRB v. Dale Industries, Inc., supra, 355 F.2d 851, 853 (6th Cir. 1966). Still further, it was held in NLRB v. Covington Motor Co., 344 F.2d 136 (4th Cir. 1965), that the act of asking an employee how many employees had signed authorization cards was not a violation of the 3 A discus......
  • Neptune Water Meter Co., a Div. of Neptune Intern. Corp. v. N.L.R.B., No. 76-1097
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • March 11, 1977
    ...2 And in Maphis Chapman Corporation v. N.L.R.B. (4th Cir. 1966) 368 F.2d 298, N.L.R.B. v. Covington Motor Company (4th Cir. Page 572 1965) 344 F.2d 136 and N.L.R.B. v. Threads, Incorporated (4th Cir. 1962) 308 F.2d 1, this principle was applied where the employer was charged with an "anti-U......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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