Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

National Labor Relations Board v. Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

June 21, 2016

National Labor Relations Board, Respondent
v.
Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters and Garner/Morrison LLC, Petitioners

          Argued September 14, 2012

         On Petitions for Review and Cross-Application for Enforcement of Orders of the National Labor Relations Board Consolidated with 11-1445, 11-1446

          James A. Bowles argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the brief was Daniel M. Shanley.

          Nina Schichor, Attorney, National Labor Relations Board, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief were John H. Ferguson, Associate General Counsel, Linda Dreeben, Deputy Associate General Counsel, and Julie Broido, Supervisory Attorney. Jeffrey W. Burritt, Attorney, entered an appearance.

          Before: Griffith, Circuit Judge, Williams and Sentelle, Senior Circuit Judges.

          GRIFFITH, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before us on petitions for review and cross-application for enforcement of orders of the National Labor Relations Board finding that both the company and the union committed unfair labor practices. After oral argument, we held this case in abeyance pending the Supreme Court's consideration of the validity of the President's recess appointments to fill vacancies on the Board in NLRB v. Noel Canning, 134 S.Ct. 2550 (2014). Member Becker, who was on the Board panel in this case, had been appointed to the Board by the President during a 17-day intra-session recess of the Senate. Following the Supreme Court's decision, this court held that Becker's appointment was valid. See Mathew Enter. v. NLRB, 771 F.3d 812, 814 (D.C. Cir. 2014). Following that decision, we removed this case from abeyance. We now hold that the Board's orders failed to provide a reasoned justification for departing from precedent and we grant the petitions for review, vacate the orders, and remand.

         I

         Garner/Morrison, LLC (G/M) is a construction company that provides drywall installation and painting services for office buildings and commercial construction sites. Founded in November 2003 by its current owners, Cliff Garner, his son Gary Travis Garner, and Chris Morrison, G/M hired its first employee, a carpenter, in December 2003 and immediately entered into a collective-bargaining agreement with the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (the Carpenters Union). The agreement established the Carpenters Union as the bargaining representative of any carpenter hired by G/M, as well as any painters or tapers the company employed unless they were covered by a separate agreement with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (the Painters Union).

         In April 2004, G/M hired painters and tapers who were not already covered by a collective-bargaining agreement. In short order, G/M entered into an agreement with the Painters Union that covered those new hires. The agreements were set to last until March 31, 2007. As that date approached, G/M, which had grown dissatisfied with the Painters Union, began to explore whether the Carpenters Union would cover its painters and tapers. Representatives of the Carpenters Union told the management of G/M that once the company's agreements with the Painters Union expired, the Carpenters Union, pursuant to its agreement with G/M, would automatically offer health and pension benefits to the newly hired painters and tapers. G/M decided to let its collective-bargaining agreements with the Painters Union expire and asked the Carpenters Union to meet with the company's painters and tapers.

         The Carpenters Union scheduled a meeting for April 2, 2007, after working hours, in a hotel conference room. The Union chose the time and place of the meeting and paid for the conference room. G/M encouraged painters and tapers to go to the meeting, but in no sense was their attendance mandatory. All but one or two of the 25 or so painters and tapers at G/M attended. Also present were 15 or 16 representatives from the Carpenters Union, three employees from a health insurance company that worked with the Carpenters Union, the three owners of G/M, and one of their superintendents.

         The conference room where the meeting was held was large-about 75 feet long by 50 feet wide. At the front of the room, several representatives of the Carpenters Union sat at a table. G/M's three owners and a superintendent sat in the first row of seats. The painters and tapers sat in rows behind them. At two tables at the back of the room-some 65 feet away from the front table-sat other representatives of the Carpenters Union and employees of the health insurer.

         As the meeting began, G/M owner Morrison told the painters and tapers to listen to the Carpenters Union's presentation, which the company thought was "a good deal." It was the view of the company, he explained, that the Carpenters Union was a "better choice" for the employees than the Painters Union and "probably the way we want to go." Morrison's comments endorsing the Carpenters Union took no more than a few minutes. Following his remarks, representatives of the Carpenters Union made their case for why the painters and tapers should join with them, highlighting the insurance benefits provided by the Carpenters Union, as well as the wages the painters and tapers would receive if they joined. They also explained how to pay dues. Their presentation took about an hour, including time for questions and answers. Finally, they told the painters and tapers that there would be a sign-up in the back of the conference room. At that point, the painters and tapers went to the back of the room where agents from the health insurance company gave them information on the benefits packages available through the Carpenters Union, and Carpenters Union representatives urged the employees to sign union authorization cards to signal that they wanted to "designate the [Carpenters] [U]nion as their collective-bargaining representative." Pa. State Educ. Ass'n-NEA v. NLRB, 79 F.3d 139, 143 (D.C. Cir. 1996).

         During this entire time, the G/M owners and superintendent stayed at the front of the room. They did not join their employees in the back of the room with the representatives of the Carpenters Union and the insurance company. From about 60 or 70 feet away, the owners said that they could see the employees' movements in the back of the room, but they could not hear their conversations or see whether they were signing authorization cards. After the painters and tapers had spent several minutes with them in the back of the room, the representatives of the Carpenters Union walked to the front of the room and gave Morrison and fellow owner Travis Garner signed union authorization cards from the majority of G/M's painters and tapers. They asked for recognition of the Carpenters Union as the exclusive bargaining agent of G/M's painters and tapers. See 29 U.S.C. § 159(a). The owners of G/M signed an agreement on the spot.

         That very day, the Painters Union filed election petitions with the Board seeking to represent G/M's painters and tapers once again. The Painters Union faxed the petitions to G/M's office at the same time representatives of the Carpenters Union were meeting with G/M's owners and employees in the conference room of the hotel. The G/M owners did not see the petitions until they returned from the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.