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Supreme Court of the United States
December 11, 1963, Argued ; January 13, 1964, Decided
[*405] [***436] [**458] MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case presents a question concerning the limitations which § 8 (a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, 49 Stat. 452 (1935), as amended, 29 U. S. C. § 158 (a)(1), places on the right of an employer to confer economic [*406] benefits on his employees shortly before a representation election. The precise issue is whether that section prohibits the conferral of such benefits, without more, where the employer's purpose is to affect the outcome of the election. We granted the National Labor Relations Board's petition for certiorari, 373 U.S. 931, to clear up a possible [***437] conflict between the decision below and those of other Courts of Appeals 1 on an important question of national labor policy. For reasons given in this opinion, we conclude that the judgment below must be reversed.
[****3] The respondent, Exchange Parts Company, is engaged in the business of rebuilding automobile parts in Fort Worth, Texas. Prior to November 1959 its employees were not represented by a union. On November 9, 1959, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, AFL-CIO, advised Exchange Parts that the union was conducting an organizational campaign at the plant and that a majority of the employees had designated the union as their bargaining representative. On November 16 the union petitioned the Labor Board for a representation election. The Board conducted a hearing on December 29, and on February 19, 1960, issued an order directing that an election be held. The election was held on March 18, 1960.
At two meetings on November 4 and 5, 1959, C. V. McDonald, the Vice-President and General Manager of Exchange Parts, announced to the employees that their "floating holiday" in 1959 would fall on December 26 and that there would be an additional "floating holiday" in 1960. On February 25, six days after the Board issued its election order, Exchange Parts held a dinner for employees at which Vice-President McDonald told the employees [****4] [*407] that they could decide whether the extra day of vacation in 1960 would be a "floating holiday" or would be taken on their birthdays. The employees voted for the latter. McDonald also referred to the forthcoming representation election as one in which, in the words of the trial examiner, the employees would "determine whether . . . [they] wished to hand over their right to speak and act for themselves." He stated that the union had [**459] distorted some of the facts and pointed out the benefits obtained by the employees without a union. He urged all the employees to vote in the election.
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375 U.S. 405 *; 84 S. Ct. 457 **; 11 L. Ed. 2d 435 ***; 1964 U.S. LEXIS 2263 ****; 48 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P18,677; 55 L.R.R.M. 2098
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. EXCHANGE PARTS CO.
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 304 F.2d 368, reversed.
employees, benefits, election, holiday, announcement, bargaining, vacation
Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Unfair Labor Practices, General Overview, Right to Organize, Employer Violations, Organizing & Voting Interference