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Supreme Court of the United States
December 6, 1983, Argued ; June 25, 1984, Decided
[*886] [***739] [**2805] JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court.
At issue in this case are several questions arising from the application of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or Act) to an employer's treatment of its undocumented [**2806] alien employees. We first determine whether the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) may properly find that an employer engages in an unfair labor practice by reporting to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) certain employees known to be undocumented aliens in retaliation for their engaging in union activity, thereby causing their immediate departure from the United States. We then address the validity of the Board's remedial order as modified by the Court of Appeals.
Petitioners are two small leather processing firms located in Chicago that, for purposes of the Act, constitute a single integrated employer. In July 1976, a union organization [****9] drive was begun. Eight employees signed cards authorizing the Chicago Leather Workers Union, Local 431, Amalgamated Meatcutters and Butcher Workmen of North America (Union), to act as their collective-bargaining representative. Of the 11 employees then employed by petitioners, most were Mexican nationals present illegally in the United States without visas or immigration papers authorizing them to work. The Union ultimately prevailed in a Board election conducted on December 10, 1976.
Two hours after the election, petitioners' president, John Surak, addressed a group of employees, including some of the undocumented aliens involved in this case. He asked the [*887] employees why they had voted for the Union and cursed them for doing so. He then inquired as to whether they had valid immigration papers. Many of the employees indicated that they did not.
[***740] Petitioners filed with the Board objections to the election, arguing that six of the seven eligible voters were illegal aliens. Surak executed an accompanying affidavit which stated that he had known about the employees' illegal presence in this country for several months prior to the election. On January 19, 1977, the [****10] Board's Acting Regional Director notified petitioners that their objections were overruled and that the Union would be certified as the employees' collective-bargaining representative. The next day, Surak sent a letter to the INS asking that the agency check into the status of a number of petitioners' employees as soon as possible. In response to the letter, INS agents visited petitioners' premises on February 18, 1977, to investigate the immigration status of all Spanish-speaking employees. The INS agents discovered that five employees were living and working illegally in the United States and arrested them. Later that day, each employee executed an INS form, acknowledging illegal presence in the country and accepting INS's grant of voluntary departure as a substitute for deportation. By the end of the day, all five employees were on a bus ultimately bound for Mexico.
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467 U.S. 883 *; 104 S. Ct. 2803 **; 81 L. Ed. 2d 732 ***; 1984 U.S. LEXIS 120 ****; 52 U.S.L.W. 4857; 101 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P11,042; 34 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P34,446; 116 L.R.R.M. 2857
SURE-TAN, INC., ET AL. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 672 F.2d 592, affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
employees, backpay, undocumented alien, unfair labor practice, reinstatement, offers, court of appeals, illegal alien, remedies, immigration, effectuate, petitioners', conditions, policies, alien, discharged employee, backpay award, purposes, remedial order, circumstances, unavailable, modified, courts, redress, tailored, wages, union activity, proceedings, compliance, reporting
Labor & Employment Law, Employment Relationships, At Will Employment, Definition of Employees, Labor Arbitration, Judicial Review, General Overview, Discrimination, National Origin Discrimination, Scope & Definitions, Immigration Law, Inadmissibility, Grounds for Inadmissibility, Improper Documentation, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Unfair Labor Practices, Criminal Offenses, Illegal Entry, Smuggling of Noncitizens, Business & Corporate Compliance, Employer Violations, Interference With Protected Activities, Discipline, Layoffs & Terminations, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Standing, Labor & Employment Law, Affirmative Action, Court & Government Imposed Plans, Judicial Review, Program Compliance