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NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. DISTRICT 50

decided: February 3, 1958.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
v.
DISTRICT 50, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA, ET AL.



CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.

Warren, Black, Frankfurter, Douglas, Burton, Clark, Harlan, Brennan, Whittaker

Author: Brennan

[ 355 U.S. Page 455]

 MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

The National Labor Relations Board found that Bowman Transportation, Inc., committed unfair labor practices by assisting District 50, United Mine Workers, as a means of defeating the efforts of a Teamsters Local to organize its workers.*fn1 The cease-and-desist order which issued was in the standard form directing the company to withdraw and withhold recognition from District 50 unless and until it received the Board's certification as the exclusive representative of the employees. 112 N. L. R. B. 387.*fn2 But the United Mine Workers is not in compliance with § 9 (f), (g), and (h), added by the Taft-Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Act, 61 Stat. 143, 29 U. S. C. § 159 (f), (g), (h).*fn3

[ 355 U.S. Page 456]

     It is therefore not eligible for a Board certification and in consequence the Bowman employees may never have an opportunity to select District 50 as their representative. The Board denied the United Mine Workers' application to delete the requirement for a Board certification. 113 N. L. R. B. 786. The question arises whether the requirement for a Board certification in these circumstances exceeds the Board's discretionary power under § 10 (c), 29 U. S. C. § 160 (c), to fashion remedies to dissipate the effects of an employer's unfair labor practices in assisting a union.

The union petitioned the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia under § 10 (f), 29 U. S. C. § 160 (f), which authorizes a Court of Appeals to "enter a decree enforcing, modifying, and enforcing as so modified,

[ 355 U.S. Page 457]

     or setting aside in whole or in part the order of the Board . . . ." The Court of Appeals, 99 U. S. App. D.C. 104, 237 F.2d 585, did not delete the provisions for Board certification but modified the order so that the company would be free to recognize District 50 not only when certified by the Board but, alternatively, when District 50 "shall have been freely chosen as such [representative] by a majority of the employees after all effects of unfair labor practices have been eliminated." 99 U. S. App. D.C., at 107, 237 F.2d, at 588.

The Board's order also required the company to post for at least 60 days a notice prepared by the Board. In the notice the company would state to its employees that it would not discourage membership in, or interrogate the employees concerning their activities on behalf of, ". . . Teamsters . . . Local No. 612, or any other labor organization . . . ," and, further, that the company would ". . . withhold all recognition from District 50 . . . unless and until said organization shall have been certified as such representative by the . . . Board." 112 N. L. R. B. 387, 391. The parties raised no objection to the notice either before the Board or in the Court of Appeals. However, the Court of Appeals on its own motion struck from the notice the references to the Teamsters Local, stating its view that "references to that union in the Board's form of notice are susceptible of being construed as" indicating that the Board "prefers Teamsters." 99 U. S. App. D.C., at 108, 237 F.2d, at 589. The court also added, to the paragraph in the notice stating that the company would withhold recognition from District 50 until the union received a Board certification, the alternative "or [until District 50] shall have been selected as such [representative] by a majority of our employees at a time at least 60 days later than the date of this notice." 99 U. S. App. D.C., at 109, 237 F.2d, at 590.

[ 355 U.S. Page 458]

     Because important questions of the administration of the Act were raised, we granted certiorari on the Board's petition. 352 U.S. 999.

The Board's order was fashioned under § 10 (c), 29 U. S. C. § 160 (c), which vests remedial power in the Board to redress unfair labor practices by "an order requiring such person [committing the unfair labor practice] to cease and desist from such unfair labor practice, and to take such affirmative action . . . as will effectuate the policies of this Act . . . ." The Board's discretionary authority to fashion remedies to purge unfair labor practices necessarily has a broad reach. Labor Board v. Link-Belt Co., 311 U.S. 584, 600. But the power is not limitless; it is contained by the requirement that the remedy shall be "appropriate," Labor Board v. Bradford Dyeing Assn., 310 U.S. 318, and shall "be adapted to the situation which calls for redress," Labor Board v. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co., 304 U.S. 333, 348. The Board may not apply "a remedy it has worked out on the basis of its experience, without regard to circumstances which may make its application to a particular situation oppressive and ...


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