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Supreme Court of the United States
December 9-10, 1948, Argued ; February 28, 1949, Decided
[*227] [**541] [***641] Opinion of the Court by MR. JUSTICE MURPHY, announced [****3] by MR. JUSTICE RUTLEDGE.
The principal question for decision is whether the circumstances justified the finding of an unfair labor practice. A union organizer was refused the use of a company-owned meeting hall, and the union complained to the Board. After the usual proceedings, the Board found an unfair labor practice had been committed, 70 N. L. R. B. 614. The Court of Appeals refused to enforce the Board's order, 165 F.2d 609, and the case is here on certiorari. A subsidiary problem is the breadth of the order we are asked to enforce.
First. We are asked to overrule the Board's finding that it is an unfair labor practice 1 to discriminate against a union by denying it the only available meeting hall in a company town when the Board finds [**542] that the "sole purpose" of the discriminatory denial is "to impede, prevent, and discourage self-organization and collective bargaining by the [company's] employees within the meaning of Section 7 of the Act."
[****4] North Belmont, North Carolina, is the home of the four respondents' mills. Interlocking directorates and family ties make the four equal one for our purposes. 2 [*228] Each of the mills owns a large number of houses in North Belmont which are rented to employees. At a central location are a school, a theatre, and a building housing a post office, all owned or controlled by the mill owners. In sum, North Belmont is a company town.
In December, 1944, Harris, a [***642] union organizer, appeared in North Belmont [****5] and began the first organization drive since the textile strike ten years earlier. He decided to begin with employees of respondent Stowe. A meeting hall was needed for the activity, and the post office building was the only choice open to the organizer -- he was refused permission to use the school building, and was told that the theatre could be used only for motion pictures. Most of the post office building was erected by respondents for the Patriotic Order Sons of America, a "patriotic secret order to which any male citizen of the United States of good moral character" can belong. Many of respondents' employees are members; respondents check off monthly dues.
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336 U.S. 226 *; 69 S. Ct. 541 **; 93 L. Ed. 638 ***; 1949 U.S. LEXIS 3012 ****; 16 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P64,991; 23 L.R.R.M. 2371
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. STOWE SPINNING CO. ET AL.
Prior History: CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT.
The Court of Appeals refused enforcement of that part of an order of the National Labor Relations Board, 70 N. L. R. B. 614, which required an employer to grant to a labor organization the use of a meeting hall in a company town. 165 F.2d 609. This Court granted certiorari. 334 U.S. 831. Reversed and remanded, p. 233.
Disposition: 165 F.2d 609, reversed.
employees, Patriotic, unfair labor practice, organizer, meeting place, textile, union organization, post office, self-organization, facilities, purposes, labor organization, meeting hall, rights, cases, collective bargaining, union organizer, company town, circumstances, permission, fraternal, village
Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Unfair Labor Practices, General Overview, Right to Organize, Enforcement of Bargaining Agreements, Labor Arbitration, Judicial Review