Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co v. National Labor Relations Board Crystal City Glass Workers Union v. Same, Nos. 521

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtREED
Citation61 S.Ct. 908,85 L.Ed. 1251,8 LRRM 425,313 U.S. 146
Decision Date28 April 1941
Docket NumberNos. 521,523
PartiesPITTSBURGH PLATE GLASS CO. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD. CRYSTAL CITY GLASS WORKERS' UNION v. SAME

313 U.S. 146
61 S.Ct. 908
85 L.Ed. 1251
PITTSBURGH PLATE GLASS CO.

v.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD. CRYSTAL CITY GLASS WORKERS' UNION v. SAME.

Nos. 521, 523.
Argued March 7, 10, 1941.
Decided April 28, 1941.
Rehearing Denied May 26, 1941.

See 313 U.S. 599, 61 S.Ct. 1093, 85 L.Ed. —-.

[Syllabus from pages 146-148 intentionally omitted]

Page 148

Messrs. J. W. McAfee, of St. Louis, Mo., and Leland Hazard, and Joseph T. Owens, both of Kansas City, Mo., for petitioner Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.

Mr. Henry H. Oberschelp, of St. Louis, Mo., for petitioner Crystal City Glass Workers' Union.

Francis B. Biddle, Sol. Gen., for respondent.

Page 149

Mr. Justice REED delivered the opinion of the Court.

The petitioners in the two cases covered by these certioraris1 are the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, an employer, and the Crystal City Glass Workers Union, an 'independent' or 'local' union, that is a union unaffiliated with any other employee organization. Charged with an unfair labor practice in refusing to bargain collectively with duly accredited representatives of its employees, the Company countered the complaint with the assertion that it had and did bargain collectively with the proper representatives of its employees but that it denied the validity of a Board decision including the Crystal City plant of the Company as a part of the appropriate bargaining unit. The central issue thus is the legality of the Labor Board's decision, under section 9(b) of the National Labor Relations Act,2 determining that 'the production and maintenance employees of the Company' at all six plants of its flat glass division, as a whole, constitute the appropriate unit for collective bargaining for the Crystal City employees, rather than the employees of the Crystal City plant only. The Board's conclusion is challenged on the merits, on procedural and on constitutional grounds. The certioraris were granted because of the importance of the 'appropriate unit' problem in the administration of the Act.

The six plants of the flat glass division are located in five different states: Ford City, Pennsylvania; Creighton, Pennsylvania; Mount Vernon, Ohio; Clarksburg, West Virginia; Henryetta, Oklahoma; and Crystal City,

Page 150

Missouri. 3 The normal number of employees in the whole division is about 6,500. The Crystal City plant, with 1,600, and the slightly larger plants at Ford City and Creighton account for the bulk of these workers; the remaining three together employ only about 1,000. The Federation of Flat Glass Workers, an affiliate of the Congress of Industrial Organization, has a majority of all the employees in the flat glass division and also a majority at each plant except Crystal City. Its position, which the Board sustained, is that the entire division should be a single bargaining unit. The Crystal City Union, which claims a majority at that plant, and the Company both contend that the circumstances of this case require Crystal City to be separated from the rest of the division for the purpose of fixing the unit.

The present proceedings are the third stage of this labor dispute. Originally, in June, 1938, the Board filed a complaint against the Company alleging domination of and interference with the Crystal City Union in violation of sections 8(1) and (2), 9 U.S.C.A. § 158 (1, 2).4 The Crystal City Union was not named as a party in that proceeding. Before any hearing had been held the Company consented to entry of an order that it would cease and desist from dominating or contributing to the Crystal City Union or from recognizing or dealing with it as a labor organization. The Board issued the stipulated order in September, 1938, and later, also pursuant to the stipulation, obtained an enforcement order from the Circuit Court

Page 151

of Appeals. 5 The Federation of Flat Glass Workers, which had filed the charges leading to the issuance of the complaint, also had requested an investigation and certification of representatives pursuant to section 9(c) of the Act. Extensive hearings on this second stage took place in October, 1938, at which the Crystal City Union appeared and participated. On January 13, 1939, the Board issued its decision fixing the bargaining unit and certification of representatives. The Board found that the Company's production and maintenance employees throughout the entire flat glass division (with the exception of window glass cutters, clerical employees not directly connected with production, and supervisory employees) constitute an appropriate unit, and it certified the Federation as the exclusive representative of all the employees in the unit.6 This order, under our ruling in American Federation of Labor v. National Labor Relations Board,7 was not subject to direct judicial review under section 10(f) of the Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 160(f). The Company, however, continued to assert that the Crystal City plant should be excluded from the unit, and refused to bargain with the Federation with respect to that group of employees. Accordingly, about a month after its certification order, the Board issued a complaint in this proceeding, the third and pending stage of the labor dispute, alleging a refusal to bargain collectively in violation of sections 8(1) and (5). At the hearing on this complaint, at which the Crystal City Union was permitted to intervene, the trial examiner excluded a certain offer of proof by it and the Company. For various reasons the Board found that the exclusion was in part proper and for the rest non-prejudicial. On the merits the Board, with one member dissenting, adhered to its

Page 152

original view that the Crystal City plant should be included in the unit and therefore found that the Company had committed an unfair labor practice.8 The Company and the Crystal City Union sought review of the Board's decision in the Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed,9 and we brought the case here on certiorari.

To reach a conclusion upon the complaint under consideration against the Company of unfair labor practices, violating section 8, subsections (1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act, the validity of the Board's decision as to the appropriate unit must be decided. As the unfair practice charged was the refusal to bargain collectively because of the inclusion of the Crystal City employees in the unit, if they were improperly included the complaint fails.

The Labor Act places upon the Board the responsibility of determining the appropriate group of employees for the bargaining unit. In accordance with this delegation of authority, the Board may decide that all employees of a single employer form the most suitable unit for the selection of collective bargaining representatives, or the Board may decide that the workers in any craft or plant or subdivision thereof are more appropriate.10 The

Page 153

petitioners' contention that section 9(a) grants to the majority of employees in a unit appropriate or such purposes the absolute right to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing11 is correct only in the sense that the 'appropriate unit' is the one declared by the Board under section 9(b), not one that might be deemed appropriate under other circumstances. In its Annual Reports, the Board has stated the general considerations which motivate its action:

'In determining whether the employees of one, several, or all plants of an employer, or the employees in all or only a part of a system of communications, transportation, or public utilities, constitute an appropriate unit for the purposes of collective bargaining, the Board has taken into consideration the following factors: (1) the history, extent, and type of organization of the employees; (2) the history of their collective bargaining, including any contracts; (3) the history, extent, and type of organization, and the collective bargaining, of employees of other employers in the same industry; (4) the relationship between any proposed unit or units and the employer's organization, management, and operation of his business, including the geographical location of the various plants or parts of the system; and (5) the skill, wages, working conditions, and work of the employees.'12

In its hearings on the appropriate unit the Board received evidence as to the organization of the Com-

Page 154

pany, the variety of its business, its distribution of this business into divisions and the location, size and method of operation of its flat glass plants, which composed the flat glass division. The history of collective bargaining in the business was developed. Finally the relation of the several plants of the flat glass division was examined and the characteristics of each plant and their respective employees gone into. From this evidence the Board determined that the production and maintenance employees of the six scattered flat glass plants were the appropriate unit and that the Federation, which had majorities of the employees in all the plants except Crystal City, was the labor representative for purposes of collective bargaining.

The Company and the local union contend that Crystal City's inclusion was erroneous because neither in the hearings on the appropriate unit nor on this unfair labor practice did the Board permit the introduction of material evidence on the question of appropriate units, the exclusion of which was prejudicial to the respondents.

While the ruling of the Board determining the appropriate unit for bargaining is not subject to direct review under the statute, the ruling is subject to challenge when, as here, a complaint of unfair practices is made predicated upon the ruling.13 Petitioners press that challenge upon the ground (1) that the procedure denied due process of law, (2) that there was no substantial evidence to justify the uling, and (3) that the authority granted the Board is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power....

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1188 practice notes
  • NLRB v. Air Control Products of St. Petersburg, Inc., No. 21017.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 28, 1964
    ...or was not otherwise unavailable at the time of the § 9(c) (1) representation hearing. Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. v. NLRB, 1941, 313 U.S. 146, 61 S.Ct. 908, 85 L.Ed. 1251; NLRB v. West Kentucky Coal Co., 6 Cir., 1945, 152 F.2d 198; NLRB v. Moss Amber Mfg. Co., 1959, 264 F.2d 107.27 In NLRB ......
  • National Labor Relations Board v. Hearst Publications Same v. Stockholders Pub Co Same v. Co 8212 339, TIMES-MIRROR
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 24, 1944
    ...bargaining, and otherwise to effectuate the policies of this Act.' Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 313 U.S. 146, 61 S.Ct. 908, 912, 85 L.Ed. 1251. The flexibility which Congress thus permitted has characterized the Board's administration of the section and has ......
  • Pilot Freight Carriers v. INTERN. BROTH., ETC., No. C-219-WS-72.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • July 23, 1980
    ...the union, and the Fifth Circuit never reviewed the Board's holding on the UC petition. See generally Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. v. NLRB, 313 U.S. 146, 151, 154, 61 S.Ct. 908, 913, 85 L.Ed. 1251, 1258-59 (1941); McGuire v. Humble Oil & Refining Co., 355 F.2d 352, 357 (2d Cir.), cert. denied......
  • Petri Cleaners, Inc. v. Automotive Emp., Laundry Drivers and Helpers Local No. 88, No. 88
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 26, 1960
    ...Publications (1944), 322 U.S. 111, 132, 64 S.Ct. 851, 88 L.Ed. 1170; Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. v. National Labor Relations Board (1941), 313 U.S. 146, 156, 61 S.Ct. 908, 85 L.Ed. 12 Congress by its 1959 amendment of section 9(c)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act did not give the board......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1171 cases
  • NLRB v. Air Control Products of St. Petersburg, Inc., No. 21017.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 28, 1964
    ...or was not otherwise unavailable at the time of the § 9(c) (1) representation hearing. Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. v. NLRB, 1941, 313 U.S. 146, 61 S.Ct. 908, 85 L.Ed. 1251; NLRB v. West Kentucky Coal Co., 6 Cir., 1945, 152 F.2d 198; NLRB v. Moss Amber Mfg. Co., 1959, 264 F.2d 107.27 In NLRB ......
  • National Labor Relations Board v. Hearst Publications Same v. Stockholders Pub Co Same v. Co 8212 339, TIMES-MIRROR
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 24, 1944
    ...bargaining, and otherwise to effectuate the policies of this Act.' Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 313 U.S. 146, 61 S.Ct. 908, 912, 85 L.Ed. 1251. The flexibility which Congress thus permitted has characterized the Board's administration of the section and has ......
  • Pilot Freight Carriers v. INTERN. BROTH., ETC., No. C-219-WS-72.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • July 23, 1980
    ...the union, and the Fifth Circuit never reviewed the Board's holding on the UC petition. See generally Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. v. NLRB, 313 U.S. 146, 151, 154, 61 S.Ct. 908, 913, 85 L.Ed. 1251, 1258-59 (1941); McGuire v. Humble Oil & Refining Co., 355 F.2d 352, 357 (2d Cir.), cert. denied......
  • Petri Cleaners, Inc. v. Automotive Emp., Laundry Drivers and Helpers Local No. 88, No. 88
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 26, 1960
    ...Publications (1944), 322 U.S. 111, 132, 64 S.Ct. 851, 88 L.Ed. 1170; Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. v. National Labor Relations Board (1941), 313 U.S. 146, 156, 61 S.Ct. 908, 85 L.Ed. 12 Congress by its 1959 amendment of section 9(c)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act did not give the board......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Federal Protection of Labor
    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 224-1, November 1942
    • November 1, 1942
    ...F. (2d) 148 (C. C. A. Co., 13 N.L.R.B. 526. 2). 90 Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., 15 N.L.R.B. 101 Piqua Munising, supra, note 92; Rem- 515, 313 U. S. 146. See also Rosenfarb, ington Rand, supra, note 40. cit., note 39, pp. 317-385, and the Board’s 102 Acme Air Appliance Co., 10 N.L.R.B. Annual......

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