Radio Officers v. Labor Board
347 U.S. 17 (1954)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Radio Officers v. Labor Board, 347 U.S. 17 (1954)

Radio Officers' Union of the Commercial Telegraphers

Union, AFL v. National Labor Relations Board

No. 5.

Syllabus

1. A complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board at the instance of a union truck driver charged his union with violating §8(b)(1)(A) and 8(b)(2) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, by causing his employer to discriminate against him, because of his delinquency in paying union dues, by reducing his seniority standing, and causing him to lose truckdriving assignments which he otherwise would have received. The Board found, inter alia, that the union's exclusive collective bargaining agreement with the employer required establishment of a seniority system and gave the union authority to settle disputes over the seniority status of any employee; that its union security provisions were not effective, due to lack of the authorization then required by § 8(a)(3); that the union's reduction of the employee's seniority restrained and coerced him in the exercise of his right to refrain from assisting the union, in violation of § 8 (b)(1)(A); and that it had caused the employer to discriminate against the employee, thus tending to encourage membership in the union, in violation of § 8(b)(2). The Board ordered the union to cease and desist from such violations, to reimburse the employee for loss of pay resulting from such discrimination, to request his employer to restore him to his former status, and to post appropriate notices.

Held: the Board's order is sustained. Pp. 347 U. S. 24-28, 347 U. S. 39-42, 347 U. S. 55.

Page 347 U. S. 18

2. A complaint filed with the Board at the instance of a radio officer charged his union with violating the same sections by causing a steamship company discriminatorily to refuse to employ him. The Board found that the union had a contract with the company requiring it to employ union members in good standing, when available; that it did not provide for a hiring hall giving the union complete control over the selection of radio officers; that the company offered the radio officer a job and he was willing to accept it; that the company was prevented from employing him by the wrongful refusal of a union officer to certify his good standing, because of his alleged violation of union rules; that this restrained and coerced him in his statutory right to refrain from observance of union rules, in violation of 8(b)(1)(A); that it caused the company to discriminate against him by denying him employment; and that the normal effect of such discrimination was to encourage membership in the union, in violation of § 8(b)(2). The Board ordered the union to withdraw objection to his employment, to reimburse him for loss of pay, and to take other corrective actions.

Held: the Board's order is sustained. Pp. 347 U. S. 28-33, 347 U. S. 39-42, 347 U. S. 55.

3. A complaint filed with the Board charged an employer with discrimination against nonunion employees in violation of § 8(a)(1), (2) and (3), by granting retroactive pay increases and vacation payments to union employees and refusing such benefits to other employees solely because they were not union members. The Board found that this had been done; that the union was the exclusive bargaining agent of all employees in the employer's delivery department; that the union security clause in the union's contract with the employer was invalid; that nothing in the contract with the union prohibited equal payment to nonunion employees; and that the natural and probable effect of the discrimination was to encourage membership in the union. The Board issued an order requiring the employer to cease and desist from such practices, to reimburse the nonunion employees for the losses sustained by reason of the discrimination against them, and to post appropriate notices.

Held: the Board's order is sustained. Pp. 347 U. S. 34-38, 347 U. S. 46-48, 347 U. S. 55.

4. The policy of the Act is to insulate employees' jobs from their organizational rights. P. 347 U. S. 40.

5. Sections 8(a)(3) and 8(b)(2) were designed to allow employees to exercise freely their right to join or to abstain from joining unions, the only limitation being in the proviso to § 8(a)(3) which

Page 347 U. S. 19

authorizes employers to enter into certain union security contracts. P. 347 U. S. 40.

6. Congress intended to prevent utilization of union security agreements for any purpose other than to compel payment of union dues and fees. Pp. 347 U. S. 40-41.

7. Under the Act, an employer may discharge an employee for nonmembership in a union if the employer has entered into a valid union security contract and if the other requirements of the proviso are met, but no other discrimination aimed at encouraging employees to join, retain membership in, or stay in good standing in, a union is condoned. Pp. 347 U. S. 41-42.

8. Although it is essential to a violation of § 8(a)(3) that the employer's motive in discriminating against the employee be to encourage or discourage membership in a labor organization, specific evidence of intent to encourage or discourage is not an indispensable element of the proof. Pp. 347 U. S. 42-48.

(a) The recognition that specific proof of intent is unnecessary where the conduct of the employer inherently encourages or discourages union membership is but an application of the common law rule that a man is held to intend the foreseeable consequences of his conduct. Pp. 347 U. S. 44-46.

(b) Discrimination by an employer solely on the basis of union membership status so foreseeably causes employee response as to obviate need for any other proof of intent. Pp. 347 U. S. 45-46.

(c) Encouragement of union membership is a natural and foreseeable consequence of any employer discrimination at the request of a union. P. 347 U. S. 52.

9. To establish a violation of § 8(a)(3), it is not essential that there be evidence of actual encouragement of union membership; a tendency to encourage is sufficient, and such tendency is sufficiently established if its existence may reasonably be inferred from the nature of the discrimination. Pp. 347 U. S. 48-52.

(a) Insofar as the power of the Board to draw reasonable inferences is concerned, the 1947 amendments of the Act did not alter the prior law. Pp. 347 U. S. 49-51.

(b) Where an employer discriminated against an employee upon the instigation of a union, and the purpose of the union in causing such discrimination was clearly to encourage members to perform obligations or supposed obligations of membership, it was reasonable for the Board to infer encouragement of union membership. P. 347 U. S. 52.

Page 347 U. S. 20

(c) The Act does not require, for the purposes of violations of § 8(a)(3), that the employees discriminated against be the ones encouraged, nor that the change in the employees' "quantum of desire" to join a union have immediate manifestations. P. 347 U. S. 51.

10. It was within the authority of the Board to proceed against a union for a violation of § 8(b)(2) and to order the union to pay backpay to an employee, without joining the employer, finding him guilty of a violation of § 8(a)(3), or requiring reinstatement by the employer. Pp. 347 U. S. 52-55.

11. The 6-month period of limitations prescribed in § 10(b) of the Act did not bar the amendment of an individual employee's charge of discrimination so as to charge that the discriminatory treatment extended to all nonunion employees, since the employer had adequate notice, and was not prejudiced by the amendment. P. 34, n 30.

12. A question which was not presented in the petition for certiorari is not properly before the Court. P. 37, n. 35.

196 F.2d 960, affirmed.

196 F.2d 1, reversed.

197 F.2d 719, affirmed.

No. 5. On a petition for enforcement of an order of the National Labor Relations Board, 93 N.L.R.B. 1523, the Court of Appeals granted enforcement. 196 F. 2d 960. This Court granted certiorari. 344 U.S. 852. Affirmed, p. 347 U. S. 55.

No. 6. On a petition for enforcement of an order of the National Labor Relations Board, 94 N.L.R.B. 1494, the Court of Appeals denied enforcement. 196 F.2d 1. This Court granted certiorari. 344 U.S. 853. Reversed, p. 347 U. S. 55.

No. 7. On a petition for enforcement of an order of the National Labor Relations Board, 93 N.L.R.B. 299, the Court of Appeals granted enforcement. 197 F.2d 719. This Court granted certiorari. 345 U.S. 902. Affirmed, p. 347 U. S. 55.

Page 347 U. S. 21

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