Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. v. N.L.R.B., STOKELY-VAN

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore PELL, BAUER and FLAUM; FLAUM
Citation722 F.2d 1324
Parties114 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 3569, 99 Lab.Cas. P 10,602 CAMP, INC., Petitioner, v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Respondent.
Decision Date30 November 1983
Docket NumberNo. 82-1131,STOKELY-VAN

Page 1324

722 F.2d 1324
114 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 3569, 99 Lab.Cas. P 10,602
STOKELY-VAN CAMP, INC., Petitioner,
v.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Respondent.
No. 82-1131.
United States Court of Appeals,
Seventh Circuit.
Argued Oct. 21, 1983.
Decided Nov. 30, 1983.

Page 1325

Herbert C. Snyder, Jr., Barnes & Thornburg, Indianapolis, Ind., for petitioner.

Susan Williams, Elliott Moore, N.L.R.B., Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Before PELL, BAUER and FLAUM, Circuit Judges.

FLAUM, Circuit Judge.

Petitioner Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. (Stokely, or the Company) seeks review of an order of the National Labor Relations Board (Board), 259 N.L.R.B. No. 128 (1982), which found that Stokely had violated sections 8(a)(1), (3) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. Secs. 151-169, by postponing vacations scheduled to begin during a strike. The Board cross-petitions for enforcement of its order. For the reasons set forth below, the Company's petition for review is granted, and the Board's petition for enforcement is denied.

Page 1326

I.

Stokely operates a food processing plant and a can manufacturing plant in Indianapolis. The United Steelworkers of America, Local No. 1473 (the Union) is, and has been since 1971, the exclusive bargaining representative of the hourly-paid production, maintenance, and warehouse employees at the two plants.

The 1977-80 collective bargaining agreement expired on Friday, June 6, 1980. At a negotiating session on June 4th, the Union announced that an economic strike would begin at both plants at midnight on June 6th. Sometime on June 4th, James Spurgeon, Stokely's labor relations manager and chief negotiator, decided that all vacations scheduled to begin on or after June 9th would be rescheduled to be taken after the strike ended. 1 The Union was not notified of this decision, and individual workers learned of it only when they attempted to pick up advance vacation checks on June 6th. The strike was a violent one, and continued until August 25, 1980. No union members crossed the picket line, but supervisory personnel maintained some production during the strike. After the strike, all employees who had vacations scheduled to be taken during the strike period had an opportunity to reschedule their vacations. 2 They were paid for those vacations at the higher rate in effect under the new contract. Seventeen processing plant employees and sixty-five can plant employees were affected by the rescheduling policy, having received approval prior to June 4th for vacations due to begin between June 9th and August 25th. Amounts of one to four weeks vacation time (depending on the employee's length of service) were involved for each.

On June 12, 1980, Earl Martin, a can plant employee who had been scheduled for two weeks vacation beginning June 9th, filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Board alleging that he and other employees had been discriminated against by Stokely's vacation rescheduling policy. 3 Martin apparently acted on his own initiative without discussing the charge with the Union. The Union never demanded vacation pay during the strike. The Board's Regional Director issued a complaint on July 18, 1980, charging Stokely with violation of sections 8(a)(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act (the Act). 4

As part of the strike settlement negotiated on August 21-22, 1980, the Union insisted on an amnesty clause. The Union

Page 1327

agreed to have Mr. Martin withdraw his charge, 5 and to withdraw the Union's own charge against Stokely of bargaining in bad faith. In return, Stokely agreed to dismiss a state court injunction against the strike violence, and its charge against the Union of bargaining in bad faith. The Union negotiator also asked for and received Spurgeon's assurance that all affected employees' vacations would be rescheduled. Both Stokely and the Union complied with these conditions.

Mr. Martin, however, was not amenable to withdrawing his charge. After the strike he twice telephoned Spurgeon and said that he would drop his charge as soon as he received all his vacation pay. In December, 1980, Spurgeon called Martin to ask why the charge had still not been withdrawn, and Martin said he had tried but "those people wouldn't let me." 6 This conversation ended with Martin's promise to discuss the matter with his union representative, but he never did so.

II.

The case was tried before an administrative law judge (ALJ) on February 9, 1981. Mr. Spurgeon testified at the hearing that he had had three reasons for deciding on June 4th to reschedule vacations. First, he believed that the company had a contractual right to do so. Under the management rights and vacation clauses of the collective bargaining agreement, management had the right to control the production schedule, and to reschedule vacations as necessary without the consent of the Union (or, for that matter, of the affected worker). Spurgeon testified that all workers who chose not to join the strike would have been called to work. Second, strike vacation rescheduling was in accord with past policy. During a 1974 strike, employees had been given the option of paid vacation during the strike with unpaid time off afterwards, or a paid vacation after the strike. Before a threatened 1977 strike, a notice had been posted stating that all vacations would be rescheduled in the event of a strike. Spurgeon also testified that during a strike at another Stokely plant, with employees represented by the same union, the same policy of rescheduling strike period vacations had been followed. There had been no legal challenge to Stokely's policies in any of these cases, and no individual grievance over vacation rescheduling had been taken as far as arbitration. Third, Stokely took the position that a vacation meant time off from work, and that employees could not be scheduled for time off from work if they were not working. This view is consistent with the employee's contractual right to paid time off but not to vacation pay per se. The ALJ completely credited Mr. Spurgeon's testimony, and his statements about the contract and about past practice were supported by documentary evidence.

The ALJ also rejected the General Counsel's proffered evidence of antiunion animus. The General Counsel relied solely on two remarks made by supervisory personnel. First, on June 6th, Martin asked his plant superintendent why his vacation check was not forthcoming. According to Martin, the supervisor replied that "it was the Union's fault, because during negotiations, they had expressed the desire to go out on strike if the contract hadn't been settled by midnight." Second, a week later another employee asked the employee relations manager why he did not receive a check for his June 16th vacation, and was

Page 1328

told that vacation checks were canceled because "you couldn't be on vacation and on a strike at the same time." The ALJ found that neither comment evidenced hostility towards the Union. Rather, both were accurate statements of the supervisors' understanding of Stokely's view of vacation time. In his decision issued May 26, 1981, the ALJ concluded that no unfair labor practice had been committed, and recommended that the complaint be dismissed.

The General Counsel filed exceptions to the ALJ's recommendation, and the Board ultimately rejected the ALJ's decision, finding that Stokely had been motivated by antiunion animus, and that the Company's reasons for rescheduling the vacations were therefore pretextual. The Board concluded that the vacation rescheduling constituted "denial of earned vacations and vacation pay" in violation of sections 8(a)(1) and (3), and also amounted to "unilaterally changing the terms and conditions of employment respecting vacation pay and vacations" in violation of 8(a)(5). The Board ordered Stokely to pay to the eighty-two employees whose vacations had been rescheduled the amount of pay they would have received in the absence of rescheduling in addition to whatever paid vacation they had received after August 25th. 7 The Board also ordered Stokely to "cease and desist from ... unilaterally cancelling scheduled vacations and requiring that all vacations be rescheduled, without notice to or consultation with the Union."

On appeal, Stokely argues that the ALJ was correct in finding that the Company had legitimate business reasons for rescheduling the vacations and that there was no evidence of antiunion animus. Stokely further argues that the Board's remedy is inappropriate even if this court sustains the violations. The back pay order would unjustly penalize the Company, which agreed to reschedule vacations as a condition of ending the strike, and employees who had already taken paid vacations after the strike would be unjustly enriched. The Board frames the issue on appeal as "whether the Company violated sections 8(a)(1), (3) and (5) of the Act by unilaterally withholding accrued vacation pay from striking employees and rescheduling their vacations to retaliate against the Union and discourage employees from engaging in a lawful strike."

III.

On review of an administrative order, the Board's order must be affirmed if "supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole." 29 U.S.C. Sec. 160(f). "[T]he meaning of 'on the record as a whole' encompasses not only testimony of witnesses and the Board's findings and order but also the report of the trial examiner." NLRB v. Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co., 440 F.2d 393, 398 (7th Cir.1971). While we may not displace the Board's choice between two fairly conflicting views, neither are we barred from "setting aside a Board decision when [we] cannot conscientiously find that the evidence supporting that decision is substantial, when viewed in the light that the record in its entirety furnishes, including the body of the evidence opposed to the Board's view." Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 488, 71 S.Ct. 456,...

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27 practice notes
  • Raytheon Network Centric Systems, 25-CA- 092145
    • United States
    • National Labor Relations Board
    • December 15, 2017
    ...See, Times Union, Capital Newspapers, 356 NLRB No. 169 (2011); Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals Division, 264 NLRB 1013, 1017 (1982), enfd. 722 F.2d 1324 (7th Cir. 1983); AT&T Corp., 325 NLRB 150 (1997); and Roll & Hold Warehouse & Distribution Corp., 325 NLRB 41 (1997), enfd. 162 F.3d 513 (7th C......
  • Esmark, Inc. v. N.L.R.B., AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 6, 1989
    ...among workers a "secondary effect" of lawful acts). 15 Boilermakers Local 88, 858 F.2d at 764; see also Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. v. NLRB, 722 F.2d 1324, 1330 (7th Cir.1983) (conduct may be inherently destructive if it "tend[s] to discourage participating in concerted activity in some general ......
  • N.L.R.B. v. P*I*E Nationwide, Inc., Nos. 89-2585
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • January 17, 1991
    ...state, we cannot say that the Board's determination of motive finds adequate support in the record. See Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. v. NLRB, 722 F.2d 1324, 1329 (7th Cir.1983) (" '[T]he inference of unlawful motive is not to be lightly drawn, and must be based on substantial evidence in the reco......
  • N.L.R.B. v. Augusta Bakery Corp., No. 90-2140
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • March 24, 1992
    ...conflicting views." NLRB v. Stor-Rite Metal Prods., Inc., 856 F.2d 957, 964 (7th Cir.1988) (quoting Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. v. NLRB, 722 F.2d 1324, 1328 (7th Cir.1983)). Where two inferences are possible, we cannot substitute our own inference for that of the Board, so long as the Board's is......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • Raytheon Network Centric Systems, 25-CA- 092145
    • United States
    • National Labor Relations Board
    • December 15, 2017
    ...See, Times Union, Capital Newspapers, 356 NLRB No. 169 (2011); Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals Division, 264 NLRB 1013, 1017 (1982), enfd. 722 F.2d 1324 (7th Cir. 1983); AT&T Corp., 325 NLRB 150 (1997); and Roll & Hold Warehouse & Distribution Corp., 325 NLRB 41 (1997), enfd. 162 F.3d 513 (7th C......
  • Esmark, Inc. v. N.L.R.B., AFL-CI
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 6, 1989
    ...among workers a "secondary effect" of lawful acts). 15 Boilermakers Local 88, 858 F.2d at 764; see also Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. v. NLRB, 722 F.2d 1324, 1330 (7th Cir.1983) (conduct may be inherently destructive if it "tend[s] to discourage participating in concerted activity in some general ......
  • N.L.R.B. v. P*I*E Nationwide, Inc., Nos. 89-2585
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • January 17, 1991
    ...state, we cannot say that the Board's determination of motive finds adequate support in the record. See Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. v. NLRB, 722 F.2d 1324, 1329 (7th Cir.1983) (" '[T]he inference of unlawful motive is not to be lightly drawn, and must be based on substantial evidence in the reco......
  • N.L.R.B. v. Augusta Bakery Corp., No. 90-2140
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • March 24, 1992
    ...conflicting views." NLRB v. Stor-Rite Metal Prods., Inc., 856 F.2d 957, 964 (7th Cir.1988) (quoting Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. v. NLRB, 722 F.2d 1324, 1328 (7th Cir.1983)). Where two inferences are possible, we cannot substitute our own inference for that of the Board, so long as the Board's is......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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