NLRB v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, No. 78

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtWATERMAN and MOORE, Circuit , and BONSAL
Citation405 F.2d 1169
PartiesNATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner, v. METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Respondent.
Docket NumberNo. 78,Docket 32135.
Decision Date18 December 1968

405 F.2d 1169 (1968)

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner,
v.
METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Respondent.

No. 78; Docket 32135.

United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit.

Argued October 17, 1968.

Decided December 18, 1968.


405 F.2d 1170

Corinna Lothar Metcalf, Atty., Arnold Ordman, Gen. Counsel, Dominick L. Manoli, Associate Gen. Counsel, Marcel Mallet-Prevost, Asst. Gen. Counsel, Warren M. Davison, Atty., N.L.R.B., for petitioner.

George G. Gallantz, Thomas F. Delaney, James M. Samples, Proskauer, Rose, Goetz & Mendelsohn, New York City, for respondent.

Before WATERMAN and MOORE, Circuit Judges, and BONSAL, District Judge.*

WATERMAN, Circuit Judge:

This case is before this court upon the petition of the National Labor Relations Board for the enforcement of its order against the respondent, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (hereinafter referred to as Metropolitan), issued on March 23, 1967. The Board's decision and order are reported at 163 N.L.R.B. No. 71. The alleged unfair labor practices having occurred in New York City, where Metropolitan is engaged in the sale of various forms of insurance, this court has jurisdiction of the proceeding.

405 F.2d 1171
Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947, § 10(e), 29 U.S.C. § 160(e)

Metropolitan's home office, located at One Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y., comprises two large building complexes, known as the North and South Buildings. Each individual building has engineering crews which maintain and operate various equipment in the building in three eight hour shifts. This equipment consists of, inter alia, heating and air conditioning installations, special air conditioning equipment for computers, ventilation devices, water and sanitary systems, pneumatic tubes, fans and refrigeration systems, and commissary and laundry equipment. Under the engineering division's chief engineer and his assistant, Metropolitan has an authorized complement of 79 employees attached to the operating crews. This complement includes one air conditioning engineer, four assistant air conditioning engineers, three operating engineers, nine watch engineers, six assistant watch engineers, seven engineers' assistants, eleven engineers' helpers, seventeen general helpers, and twenty-one wipers.

On June 18, 1965, pursuant to Section 9(c) of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 159(c), International Union of Operating Engineers, Locals 30-A, 30-B, and 30-C, AFL-CIO (hereinafter referred to as Local 30), filed with the Board its petition setting forth that it was entitled to represent the engineering division crews which maintain and operate the above described equipment. On August 9, a representation hearing was held, in which both Local 30 and Metropolitan participated.

On September 20, 1965, based upon the record in the representation hearing, the Regional Director issued his Decision and Direction of Election.1 He concluded that the operating engineers, the air conditioning engineers, the assistant air conditioning engineers, and the watch engineers were all supervisors within the meaning of Section 2(11) of the Act. He found the following group of employees to be an appropriate unit for collective bargaining:

All assistant watch engineers, engineer assistants, engineer helpers, general helpers and wipers employed in the operating crew of the Employer\'s engineering division at One Madison Avenue * * *.

Although Local 30 did not object to the exclusion of the operating engineers and the air conditioning engineer, it maintained that the assistant air conditioning engineers and the watch engineers did not possess supervisory authority but were merely employees and therefore should be included in the collective bargaining unit. Consequently, the Local filed a timely request with the Board for review of the Regional Director's determination. By telegraphic order, dated November 5, 1965, the Board granted review and stayed the election the Regional Director had ordered.

In its Decision on Review the Board concluded that the watch engineers and the assistant air conditioning engineers were not supervisors and included them in the unit. Thereafter a secret ballot election was held on July 20, 1966 and forty-nine votes were cast in favor of Local 30 and twelve against representation. On July 28, 1966 the Regional Director certified Local 30 as the representative of the employees in the designated unit.

Following the certification Local 30 requested recognition and bargaining. Metropolitan formally declined this request on September 15, 1966. Local 30 then filed with the Board an unfair labor

405 F.2d 1172
practice charge and the General Counsel issued a complaint alleging that the refusal to recognize and to bargain violated Section 8(a) (5) and (1) of the Act. Metropolitan's answer admitted the refusal to bargain, but asserted that the refusal was lawful because the Board's determination that included the watch engineers and assistant air conditioning engineers in the bargaining unit was erroneous. The General Counsel thereupon moved for summary judgment on the ground that the only issue raised in defense had already been determined in the representation hearing adversely to Metropolitan

On December 6, 1966 the Board issued a Notice to Show Cause why the motion for summary judgment should not be granted. Metropolitan's Memorandum in Opposition to the summary judgment motion did not assert that there was any newly discovered evidence relative to whether the watch engineers and assistant air conditioning engineers were supervisors but contended only that the Board's unit determination was incorrect.

Noting the absence of an allegation of special circumstances, the Board refused to reexamine the determination made in the representation proceeding, concluded that there were no material factual issues requiring a hearing, and granted the General Counsel's motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, the Board found Metropolitan's admitted refusal to bargain violative of Section 8(a) (5) and (1) of the Act, and ordered Metropolitan to bargain with Local 30 upon request and to post an appropriate notice. It is this order that the Board petitions us to enforce.

Under Section 9(b) of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947, the only persons who may properly be included by the Board in the units it deems appropriate for collective bargaining purposes are "employees." Excluded from the term "employee" is "any individual employed as a supervisor." Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947, § 2(3), 29 U.S.C. § 152(3). Section 2(11) of the Act defines "supervisor" as

* * * any individual having authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibly to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend such action, if in connection with the foregoing the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.

Persons who fall within this classification of "supervisors" are consequently not entitled to the protections accorded "employees" under the Act and their employers are under no obligation to bargain with a union if the union's bargaining unit includes such persons. Therefore, if the persons whose status Metropolitan questions are supervisors, as defined by the Act, Metropolitan is not guilty of any Section 8(a) (5) and (1) unfair labor practice, and the Board's order should not be enforced by this court.

The question of whether the watch engineers and the assistant air conditioning engineers are supervisors is essentially a question of fact, the answer to which must turn on the powers they are authorized to exercise. E. g., Precision Fabricators v. NLRB, 204 F. 2d 567, 568 (2 Cir. 1953); NLRB v. Esquire, Inc., 222 F.2d 253, 257 (7 Cir. 1955). Inasmuch as infinite variations and gradations of authority can exist within any one industrial complex and any drawing of the line between the personnel of management and the rank and file workers may require some expertise in evaluating actual power distributions which exist within an enterprise, the Board's findings relative thereto are entitled to great weight. E. g., Warner Company v. NLRB, 365 F.2d 435, 437 (3 Cir. 1966); NLRB v. Swift and Company, 292 F.2d 561, 563 (1 Cir. 1961). But if the Board's determination is not

405 F.2d 1173
supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole, a Court of Appeals ought not enforce a Board order which is based on an unsupported determination. Labor-Management Relations Act, 1947, § 10(e), 29 U.S.C. § 160(e); see, generally, Jaffe, Judicial Control of Administrative Action, 595-624 (1965). We have carefully examined the record here and we hold that the Board's findings that the engineers whose status is at issue are not supervisors as defined by Congress in the Act are not supported by substantial evidence in the record

The evidence presented at the representation hearing establishes that, among other duties, the watch engineers and the assistant air conditioning engineers are primarily responsible for the operation and maintenance of the equipment under their control, that they assign, direct, and supervise the work of the men in their respective crews, and that they have certain important personnel responsibilities.2 However, inasmuch as Section 2(11) is written in the disjunctive, and so just the possession of any one of the listed powers is sufficient to cause the possessor to be classified as a supervisor even if the power is not customarily exercised, Ohio Power Co. v. NLRB, 176 F.2d 385, 387 (6 Cir.), cert. denied, 338 U.S. 899, 70 S.Ct. 249, 94 L.Ed. 553 (1949); NLRB v. Roselon Southern, Inc., 382 F.2d 245, 247 (6 Cir. 1967); West Penn Power Company v. NLRB, 337 F.2d 993, 996 (3 Cir. 1964); NLRB v. Fullerton Publishing Company, ...

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36 practice notes
  • N.L.R.B. v. Porta Systems Corp., No. 650
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • May 29, 1980
    ...expertise "in evaluating actual power distributions which exist within an enterprise," NLRB v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 405 F.2d 1169, 1172 (2d Cir. 1968). Yet, in NLRB v. Monroe Tube Co., 545 F.2d 1320, 1324-25 (2d Cir. 1976), despite the fact that the night foreman in qu......
  • City of Davenport v. Public Employment Relations Bd., No. 59399
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 22, 1978
    ...definition of a 'supervisor'." NLRB v. Swift and Co., 292 F.2d 561, 563 (1 Cir. 1961). See NLRB v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 405 F.2d 1169, 1172 (2 Cir. 1968); NLRB v. Security Guard Service, Inc., 384 F.2d 143, 146 (5 Cir. We believe similar deference is necessary under the Iowa sta......
  • Roth v. AM. PROP. RIGHTS ASS'N FUEL OIL BUYERS GR., No. 91 CV 2441.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • May 27, 1992
    ...independent judgment. Supervisors under the Act not entitled to the protections of the Act. NLRB v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 405 F.2d 1169, 1172 (2d The courts have interpreted § 2(11) as establishing a two-pronged test for determining whether an individual is a supervisor under......
  • Amalgamated Local Union 355 v. NLRB, No. 703-705
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • July 9, 1973
    ...any of the listed elements is sufficient for an initial finding of supervisory status. N.L.R.B. v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 405 F.2d 1169, 1173 (C.A. 2, 1968); Warner Co. v. N.L.R.B., 365 F.2d 435, 437 (C.A. 3, 1966); N.L.R.B. v. Elliott-Williams Co., 345 F.2d 460, 463 (C.A. 7, 1965); N.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
36 cases
  • N.L.R.B. v. Porta Systems Corp., No. 650
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • May 29, 1980
    ...Board's expertise "in evaluating actual power distributions which exist within an enterprise," NLRB v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 405 F.2d 1169, 1172 (2d Cir. 1968). Yet, in NLRB v. Monroe Tube Co., 545 F.2d 1320, 1324-25 (2d Cir. 1976), despite the fact that the night foreman in ques......
  • City of Davenport v. Public Employment Relations Bd., No. 59399
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 22, 1978
    ...statutory definition of a 'supervisor'." NLRB v. Swift and Co., 292 F.2d 561, 563 (1 Cir. 1961). See NLRB v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 405 F.2d 1169, 1172 (2 Cir. 1968); NLRB v. Security Guard Service, Inc., 384 F.2d 143, 146 (5 Cir. We believe similar deference is necessary under the Iow......
  • Roth v. AM. PROP. RIGHTS ASS'N FUEL OIL BUYERS GR., No. 91 CV 2441.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • May 27, 1992
    ...independent judgment. Supervisors under the Act not entitled to the protections of the Act. NLRB v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 405 F.2d 1169, 1172 (2d The courts have interpreted § 2(11) as establishing a two-pronged test for determining whether an individual is a supervisor under......
  • Amalgamated Local Union 355 v. NLRB, No. 703-705
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • July 9, 1973
    ...any of the listed elements is sufficient for an initial finding of supervisory status. N.L.R.B. v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 405 F.2d 1169, 1173 (C.A. 2, 1968); Warner Co. v. N.L.R.B., 365 F.2d 435, 437 (C.A. 3, 1966); N.L.R.B. v. Elliott-Williams Co., 345 F.2d 460, 463 (C.A. 7, 1965); N.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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