Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Co v. National Labor Relations Board

Citation82 L.Ed. 954,303 U.S. 453,58 S.Ct. 656
Decision Date28 March 1938
Docket NumberNo. 536,536
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

[Syllabus from pages 453-455 intentionally omitted] Mr. J. Paul St. Sure, of Oakland, Cal., for appellant.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 455-457 intentionally omitted] Mr. Charles Fahy, of Washington, D.C., for respondent.

[Argument of Counsel from Pages 457-459 intentionally omitted] Mr. Chief Justice HUGHES delivered the opinion of the Court.

The National Labor Relations Board on April 2, 1936, after hearing, found that petitioner, Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Company, a California corporation, had been engaged in unfair labor practices affecting commerce within the meaning of section 8, subdivisions (1) and (3) and section 2, subdivisions (6) and (7), of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 158(1, 3), 152(6, 7), and ordered petitioner to desist from such practices, to reinstate with back pay certain employees who had been discharged, and to post appropriate notices. 1 N.L.R.B. 454. Upon petition of the Board, the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the order so far as it related to petitioner's employees at its Oakland plant. 9 Cir., 91 F.2d 790. In view of the importance of the question with respect to the application of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq., this court granted certiorari. 302 U.S. 680, 58 S.Ct. 282, 82 L.Ed. —-.

There is no dispute as to the pertinent facts. The findings of the Board, supported by evidence, show the following:

Petitioner is engaged at its plant at Oakland in canning, packing, and shipping fruit and vegetables, the bulk of which are grown in that state. During the 'peak' season, petitioner employs from 1,200 to 1,500 persons, of whom about 30 are warehousemen. The total 'pack' in the year 1935 amounted to about 1,699,270 cases. Of this amount about 37 per cent. were shipped in interstate or foreign commerce, 9.02 per cent. being sent to foreign countries and approximately 473,620 cases, or about 27.89 per cent. to various points in the United States outside California. The sales to purchasers outside the state were under either f.o.b. or c.i.f. San Francisco Bay Point contracts.

The methods of transportation are by water, rail, and truck. Export shipments go by water, and this is also the chief sort of carriage to points within the United States outside California; about 20 per cent. being shipped by rail and an undetermined amount by truck directly to the point of destination. 'There is a constant stream of loading and shipping of products' out of petitioner's plant throughout the entire year. From 3,000 to 4,000 cases are loaded daily in the various vehicles of conveyance. That loading is a substantial and regular part of the work of the warehousemen in petitioner's employ. When the shipments are by rail or overland trucks, these employees load directly into the equipment of the principal carriers. When shipments are by boat, the warehousemen load the cases into the trucks which carry the goods to the docks.

Weighers, Warehousemen and Cereal Workers Local 38—44, International Longshoremen's Association, is a labor organization affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. Its efforts to organize the Oakland plant were begun in July, 1935, and many of the permanent warehousemen made application for membership. When this came to the attention of petitioner early in August, the general manager announced that he would not permit a union in the plant because of competitive conditions. On their return from a union meeting at which the men were to be initiated, members of the night shift were prevented from entering the plant, and the next morning the members of the day crew were similarly excluded. A picket line then formed, on the morning of August 8th, was maintained until September 27th with such effectiveness that eventually the movement of trucks from warehouses to wharves ceased entirely. The Board found: 'The teamsters refused to haul Santa Cruz merchandise; the warehousemen at the dock warehouses who ordinarily unload the canned goods from the cars prior to their reloading into the ships, since they were members of the same union as the Santa Cruz warehousemen, also declined to handle Santa Cruz cargo. As members of the sister union, I.L.A. 38—79, the stevedores who move the goods from dock to ship also refused to move Santa Cruz cargo both at the East Bay and San Francisco docks during the entire period that the picket line was maintained. Other unions whose members refused to move 'hot' Santa Cruz cargo were those members of the Sailors who comprised the crews of steam schooners and whose duties include the handling of cargo.' Petitioner points out that the refusal of the other unions to handle petitioner's goods was a violation of an arbitration award made in October, 1934, following the San Francisco maritime strike of that year.

The Board found that interference with the activities of employees in forming or joining labor organizations results in strikes and industrial unrest which habitually have had the effect in the canning industry of impeding the movement of canned products in interstate and foreign commerce. Reference was made to official statistics of the United States Department of Labor in relation to the canning and preserving industries from which it appeared that of the fifteen strikes and lockouts in 1934, and the first six months of 1935, eight were the outcome of difficulties in regard to union recognition and discrimi- nation for union activities; 7,484 workers being involved in those stoppages.

The Board concluded that the discharge of the employees named and the refusal to reinstate them constituted an unlawful discrimination under the National Labor Relations Act and that the acts of petitioner had led and tended to lead to labor disputes burdening and obstructing commerce.

Petitioner contends that the manufacturing and processing in which petitioner is engaged are local activities, and that the Board was without jurisdiction over the labor dispute involved in this case.

First. There is no question that petitioner was directly and largely engaged in interstate and foreign commerce. We have often decided that sales to purchasers in another state are not withdrawn from federal control because the goods are delivered f.o.b. at stated points within the state of origin for transportation. See Savage v. Jones, 225 U.S. 501, 520, 32 S.Ct. 715, 56 L.Ed. 1182; Texas & N.O.R. Co. v. Sabine Tram Co., 227 U.S. 111, 114, 122, 33 S.Ct. 229, 57 L.Ed. 442; Pennsylvania R. Co. v. Clark Bros. Coal Mining Co., 238 U.S. 456, 465—468, 35 S.Ct. 896, 59 L.Ed. 1406. A large part of the interstate commerce of the country is conducted upon the basis and the arrangements that are made between seller and purchaser with respect to the place of taking title to the commodity, or as to the payment of freight, where the actual movement is interstate, does not affect either the power of Congress or the jurisdiction of the agencies which Congress has established. Pennsylvania R. Co. v. Clark Bros. Coal Mining Co., supra.

Second. The power of Congress extends not only to the making of rules governing sales of petitioner's products in interstate commerce, as, for example, with respect to misbranding under the Federal Food and Drugs Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 1 to 26, 21 U.S.C.A. §§ 1 to 26, or with respect to forbidden dis- criminations in prices under the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 13, 15 U.S.C.A. § 13, but also to the protection of that interstate commerce from burdens, obstructions, and interruptions, whatever may be their source. Second Employers' Liability Cases, 223 U.S. 1, 51, 32 S.Ct. 169, 56 L.Ed. 327, 38 L.R.A.,N.S., 44. The close and intimate effect which brings the subject within the reach of federal power may be due to activities in relation to productive industry, although that industry when separately viewed is local. It is upon this well-established principle that the constitutional validity of the National Labor Relations Act has been sustained. National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, 301 U.S. 1, 38, 57 S.Ct. 615, 624, 81 L.Ed. 893, 108 A.L.R. 1352.

Petitioner urges that the principle is inapplicable here as the fruits and vegetables which petitioner prepares for shipment are grown in California and petitioner's operations are confined to that state. It is not a case where the raw materials of production are brought into the state of manufacture and the manufactured product is handled by the manufacturer in other states. In view of the interstate commerce actually carried on by petitioner, the conclusion sought to be drawn from this distinction is without merit. The existence of a continuous flow of interstate commerce through the state may indeed readily show the intimate relation of particular transactions to that commerce. Stafford v. Wallace, 258 U.S. 495, 516, 42 S.Ct. 397, 402, 66 L.Ed. 735, 23 A.L.R. 229; Board of Trade of City of Chicago v. Olsen, 262 U.S. 1, 33, 43 S.Ct. 470, 476, 67 L.Ed. 839. But, as we said in the Jones & Laughlin Case, the instances in which the metaphor of a 'stream of commerce' has been used are but particular, and not exclusive, illustrations of the protective power which Congress may exercise. 'The congressional authority to protect interstate commerce from burdens and obstructions is not limited to transactions which can be deemed to be an essential part of a 'flow' of interstate or foreign commerce. Burdens and obstructions may be due to injurious actions springing from other sources.' Id., 301 U.S. 1, at page 36, 57 S.Ct. 615, 624, 81 L.Ed. 893, 108 A.L.R. 1352.

Such injurious action burdening and obstructing interstate trade in manufactured articles may spring from labor disputes irrespective of the origin of the materials used in the manufacturing process. And the place where the manufacturer...

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  • State + Local Tax Insights: Winter 2014
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • January 21, 2014
    ...and not the State, that is entitled to prescribe the final and dominant rule"). 18 See, e.g., Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Co. v. NLRB, 303 U.S. 453, 466-67 (1938) (stating that "where federal control is sought to be exercised over activities which separately considered are intrastate, it must ......

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