Labor Board v. Washington Aluminum Co.
Annotate this Case
370 U.S. 9 (1962)
U.S. Supreme Court
Labor Board v. Washington Aluminum Co., 370 U.S. 9 (1962)
National Labor Relations Board v. Washington Aluminum Co.
Argued April 10, 1962
Decided May 28, 1962
370 U.S. 9
Respondent is a manufacturer subject to the National Labor Relations Act. After several of the eight nonunion employees in its machine shop had complained individually about the coldness of the shop during the winter, seven of them walked out together on an extraordinarily cold day, saying that it was "too cold to work." Respondent discharged them for violating a rule forbidding any employee to leave without permission of the foreman. The National Labor Relations Board found that they had acted in concert in protest against respondent's failure to provide adequate heat in their place of work, and that their discharge violated § 8(a)(1) of the Act by interfering with their right under § 7 to act in concert for mutual aid or protection, and it ordered respondent to reinstate them with back pay.
Held: the Board correctly interpreted and applied the Act to the circumstances of this case, and the Court of Appeals should have enforced its order. Pp. 370 U. S. 10-18.
(a) These employees did not lose their right under § 7 to engage in concerted activities merely because they did not present a specific demand upon their employer to remedy a condition they found objectionable. Pp. 370 U. S. 14-15.
(b) The walkout involved here grew out of a "labor dispute" within the meaning of § 2(a) of the Act. Pp. 370 U. S. 15-16.
(c) The fact that respondent had an established rule forbidding employees to leave their work without permission of the foreman was not justifiable "cause" for their discharge within the meaning of § 10(c). Pp. 370 U. S. 16-17.
291 F.2d 869 reversed.