OFFICE EMPLOYEES INT. UNION v. National Labor Rel. Bd., No. 12896.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtPRETTYMAN, BAZELON and DANAHER, Circuit
Citation235 F.2d 832
Decision Date21 June 1956
Docket NumberNo. 12896.

235 F.2d 832 (1956)


No. 12896.

United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit.

Argued March 19, 1956.

Decided June 21, 1956.

Mr. Joseph E. Finley, Washington, D. C., for petitioner.

Miss Fannie M. Boyls, Attorney, National Labor Relations Board, with whom Mr. Marcel Mallet-Prevost, Assistant General Counsel, National Labor Relations Board, was on the brief, for respondent.

Messrs. Clifford D. O'Brien and Richard Frank, Washington, D. C., filed a brief as amici curiae, urging affirmance.

Before PRETTYMAN, BAZELON and DANAHER, Circuit Judges.

PRETTYMAN, Circuit Judge.

Petitioner, as its name implies, is a labor union primarily representing office and clerical employees. It filed with the Labor Board charges against a group of other organizations, mostly unions, known in this litigation collectively as the Teamsters. It alleged many unfair labor practices in respect to certain of the Teamsters' office and clerical employees. The dissenting Board members observed that "the violations charged to the Respondents the Teamsters not only run the entire gamut of employer unfair labor practices, but also include at least one novel variation." The Board itself said: "This is the first proceeding to be decided by the Board in its 20-year history in which labor organizations have been charged with committing unfair labor practices as employers in dealing with their own employees." An Examiner, after hearing, found most of the charges sustained. The Board did not disturb those findings or conclusions but found that the policies of the Act would not be effectuated by asserting jurisdiction in the proceeding, and so it dismissed the complaints in their entireties.

The Board agreed with the Examiner's interpretation of Section 2(2) of the Act,1 that labor organizations are employers with respect to their own employees. The Board then said it must determine in respect to these respondents

235 F.2d 833
(the Teamsters), as in respect to all other employers, whether they are engaged in commerce or activities affecting commerce and, if so, whether the policies of the Act would be effectuated by asserting jurisdiction over them

Proceeding with the inquiry the Board first found that these unions are nonprofit organizations. It then applied to them the standards it says it regularly applies to non-profit organizations, citing cases to illustrate the application to universities, orchestras and such. It says it asserts jurisdiction over such organizations "only in exceptional circumstances and in connection with purely commercial activities". It found the Teamsters' activities to be, "obviously, not substantial engagement in a commercial venture" within the meaning of its rules. The foregoing was enough to dispose of the cases.

Cast in the frame indicated by the foregoing we think the decision fell within the broad discretion which seems to be established as applicable to the Board's actions in entertaining complaints. For example, in National Labor Relations Board v. Denver Bldg. & Const. Trades Council,2 the Supreme Court said:

"Even when the effect of activities on interstate commerce is sufficient to enable the Board

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