Republic Aviation Corporation v. National Labor Relations Board National Labor Relations Board v. Le Tourneau Co of Georgia, Nos. 226

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtREED
Citation65 S.Ct. 982,157 A.L.R. 1081,324 U.S. 793,89 L.Ed. 1372
Decision Date23 April 1945
Docket Number452,Nos. 226
PartiesREPUBLIC AVIATION CORPORATION v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. LE TOURNEAU CO. OF GEORGIA

324 U.S. 793
65 S.Ct. 982
89 L.Ed. 1372
REPUBLIC AVIATION CORPORATION

v.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. LE TOURNEAU CO. OF GEORGIA.

Nos. 226, 452.
Argued Jan. 10, 1945.
Decided April 23, 1945.
Rehearing Denied May 28, 1945.

See 325 U.S. 894, 65 S.Ct. 1401.

Page 794

Mr. J. Edward Lumbard, Jr., of New York City, for petitioner Republic Aviation Corporation.

Miss Ruth Weyand, of Washington, D.C., for National Labor Relations Board.

Mr. A. C. Wheeler, of Gainesville, Ga., for respondent Le Tourneau Co.

Mr. Justice REED delivered the opinion of the Court.

In the Republic Aviation Corporation case, the employer, a large and rapidly growing military aircraft manufacturer, adopted, well before any union activity at the plant, a general rule against soliciting which read as follows:

Page 795

'Soliciting of any type cannot be permitted in the factory or offices.'

The Republic plant was located in a built-up section of Suffolk County, New York. An employee persisted after being warned of the rule in soliciting union membership in the plant by passing out application cards to employees on his own time during lunch periods. The employee was discharged for infraction of the rule and, as the National Labor Relations Board found, without discrimination on the part of the employer toward union activity.

Three other employees were discharged for wearing UAW-CIO union steward buttons in the plant after being requested to remove the insignia. The union was at that time active in seeking to organize the pla t. The reason which the employer gave for the request was that as the union was not then the duly designated representative of the employees, the wearing of the steward buttons in the plant indicated an acknowledgment by the management of the authority of the stewards to represent the employees in dealing with the management and might impinge upon the employer's policy of strict neutrality in union matters and might interfere with the existing grievance system of the corporation.

The Board was of the view that wearing union steward buttons by employees did not carry any implication of recognition of that union by the employer where, as here, there was no competing labor organization in the plant. The discharges of the stewards, however, were found not to be motivated by opposition to the particular union, or we deduce, to unionism.

The Board determined that the promulgation and enforcement of the 'no solicitation' rule violated Section 8(1) of the National Labor Relations Act as it interfered with, restrained and coerced employees in their rights under Section 7 and discriminated against the discharged employee

Page 796

under Section 8(3). 1 It determined also that the discharge of the stewards violated Section 8(1) and 8(3). As a consequence of its conclusions as to the solicitation and the wearing of the insignia, the Board entered the usual cease and desist order and directed the reinstatement of the discharged employees with back pay and also the rescission of 'the rule against solicitation in so far as it prohibits union activity and solicitation on company property during the employees' own time.' 51 N.L.R.B. 1186, 1189. The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed, 142 F.2d 193, and we granted certiorari, 323 U.S. 688, 65 S.Ct. 55, because of conflict with the decisions of other circuits.2

In the case of Le Tourneau Company of Georgia, two employees were suspended two days each for distributing union literature or circulars on the employees' own time on company owned and policed parking lots, adjacent to the company's fenced in plant, in violation of a long standing and strictly enforced rule, adopted prior to union organization activity about the premises, which read as follows:

'In the future no Merchants, Concern, Company or In-

Page 797

dividual or Individuals will be permitted to distribute, post or otherwise circulate handbills or posters, or any literature of any description on Company property without first securing permission from the Personnel Department.'

The rule was adopted to control littering and petty pilfering from parked autos by distributors. The Board determined that there was no union bias or discrimination by the company in enforcing the rule.

The company's plant for the manufacture of earth moving machinery and other products for the war is in the country on a six thousand acre tract. The plant is bisected by one public road and built along another. There is one hundred feet of company-owned land for parking or other use between the highways and the employee entrances to the fenced enclosu es where the work is done, so that contact on public ways or on non-company property with employees at or about the establishment is limited to those employees, less than 800 out of 2100, who are likely to walk across the public highway near the plant on their way to work, or to those employees who will stop their private automobiles, buses or other conveyances on the public roads for communications. The employees' dwellings are widely scattered.

The Board found that the application of the rule to the distribution of union literature by the employees on company property which resulted in the lay-offs was an unfair labor practice under Section 8(1) and 8(3). Cease and desist, and rule rescission orders, with directions to pay the employees for their lost time followed. 54 N.L.R.B. 1253. The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the Board, 143 F.2d 67, and we granted certiorari because of conflict with the Republic case. 323 U.S. 688, 65 S.Ct. 55.

These cases bring here for review the action of the National Labor Relations Board in working out an adjustment between the undisputed right of self-organization

Page 798

assured to employees under the Wagner Act and the equally undisputed right of employers to maintain discipline in their establishments. Like so many others, these rights are not unlimited in the sense that they can be exercised without regard to any duty which the existence of rights in others may place upon employer or employee. Opportunity to organize and proper discipline are both essential elements in a balanced society.

The Wagner Act did not undertake the impossible task of specifying in precise and unmistakable language each incident which would constitute an unfair labor practice. On the contrary that Act left to the Board the work of applying the Act's general prohibitory language in the light of the infinite combinations of events which might be charged as violative of its terms. Thus a 'rigid scheme of remedies' is avoided and administrative flexibility within appropriate statutory limitations obtained to accomplish the dominant purpose of the legislation. Phelps Dodge Corporation v. National Labor Relations Board, 313 U.S. 177, 194, 61 S.Ct. 845, 852, 85 L.Ed. 1271, 133 A.L.R. 1217. So far as we are here concerned that purpose is the right of employes to organize for mutual aid without employer interference. This is the principle of labor relations which the Board is to foster.

The gravamen of the objection of both Republic and Le Tourneau to the Board's orders is that they rest on a policy formulated without due administrative procedure. To be more specific it is that the Board cannot substitute its knowledge of industrial relations for substantive evidence. The contention is that there must be evidence before the Board to show that the rules and orders of the employers interfered with and discouraged union organization in the circumstances and situation of each company. Neither in the Republic nor the Le Tourneau cases can it properly be said that there was evidence or a finding that the plant's physical location made solicitation away from company property ineffective to reach prospective union

Page 799

members. Neither of these is like a mining or lumber camp where the employees pass their rest as wel as their work time on the employer's premises, so that union organization must proceed upon the employer's premises or be seriously handicapped.3

The National Labor Relations Act creates a system for the organization of labor with emphasis on collective bargaining by employees with employers in regard to labor relations which affect commerce. An essential part of that system is the rovision for the prevention of unfair labor practices by the employer which might interfere with the guaranteed rights. The method for prevention of unfair labor practices is for the Board to hold a hearing on a complaint which has been duly served upon the employer who is charged with an unfair labor practice. At that hearing the employer has the right to file an answer...

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665 practice notes
  • Mobile Exploration v. NLRB, No. 97-60789
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 23, 1999
    ...the wide variety of cases that come before it. See Eastex, 437 U.S. at 567-68 (citing, inter alia, Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793, 798, 89 L. Ed. 1372, 65 S. Ct. 982 (1944); Phelps Dodge Corp. v. NLRB, 313 U.S. 177, 194, 85 L. Ed. 1271, 61 S. Ct. 845 (1941)). For example, the......
  • Richardson v. Miller, No. 88-1136-CV-W-9-JWO-P.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • June 30, 1989
    ...his state remedies, to apply to this Court for certiorari to review the judgment of the Supreme Court of Illinois." Id. at 767, 65 S.Ct. at 982. That direction to the federal district courts reflected the Court's recognition that the doctrine of exhaustion was not to be applied in a ca......
  • Holodnak v. AVCO CORP., AVCO-LYCOMING D., STRATFORD, CONN., Civ. A. No. B-15.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • August 15, 1974
    ...within the plant, even though the collective bargaining agreement authorized the rule. See also Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793, 65 S.Ct. 982, 89 L.Ed. 1372 (1945). Of course, the question of whether Holodnak's discharge is an unfair labor practice is not for a district court ......
  • Hudgens v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 74-773
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 3, 1976
    ...the Board changed its tack and urged that the case was controlled not by Babcock & Wilcox, but by Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793, 65 S.Ct. 982, 89 L.Ed. 1372, a case which held that an employer commits an unfair labor practice if he enforces a no-solicitation rule against......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
715 cases
  • The Boeing Company and Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, IFPTE Local 2001, 19-CA-090932
    • United States
    • National Labor Relations Board
    • December 14, 2017
    ...in part). [13] NLRB v. Great Dane Trailers, Inc., 388 U.S. 26, 33-34 (1967) (emphasis added). See also Republic Aviation v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793, 797-798 (1945) (referring to “working out an adjustment between the undisputed right of self-organization assured to employees under the Wagner Act......
  • British Steel PLC v. US, Slip Op. 95-17. Court No. 93-09-00550-CVD
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of International Trade
    • February 9, 1995
    ...on "some rational connection between the facts proved and the facts then presumed." (Id. at 49 (citing Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793, 804-05, 65 S.Ct. 982, 988-89, 89 L.Ed. 1372 (1945); Luria v. United States, 231 U.S. 9, 34 S.Ct. 10, 58 L.Ed. 101 (1913); Rhone Poulenc, Inc.......
  • Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. Nat'l Labor Relations Bd., No. 2:11–cv–02516–DCN.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • April 13, 2012
    ...on collective bargaining by employees with employers in regard to labor relations which affect commerce.” Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793, 799, 65 S.Ct. 982, 89 L.Ed. 1372 (1945). Enacted in 1935, the NLRA was originally known as the Wagner Act after its sponsor, Senator Rober......
  • Holodnak v. AVCO CORP., AVCO-LYCOMING D., STRATFORD, CONN., Civ. A. No. B-15.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • August 15, 1974
    ...within the plant, even though the collective bargaining agreement authorized the rule. See also Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793, 65 S.Ct. 982, 89 L.Ed. 1372 (1945). Of course, the question of whether Holodnak's discharge is an unfair labor practice is not for a district court ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • BALANCING ESPORTS: PROTECTING THE NEXT GENERATION'S SUPERSTARS.
    • United States
    • The Journal of High Technology Law Vol. 22 Nbr. 2, July 2022
    • July 1, 2022
    ...threaten [one] for, or coercively question [one] about, this "protected concerted" activity. Id. See also Republic Aviation Corp. v. NLRB, 324 U.S. 793, 795 (1945) (holding an employer is not allowed to fire an employee for conducting union activity outside work time and the work area or ad......

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