Houston Insulation Contractors Assn. v. NLRB,
386 U.S. 664 (1967)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Houston Insulation Contractors Assn. v. NLRB, 386 U.S. 664 (1967)

Houston Insulation Contractors Assn. v.

National Labor Relations Board

No. 206

Argued January 19, 1967

Decided April 17, 1967*

386 U.S. 664


In a collective bargaining agreement between a contractors' association and Local 22 of an insulators and asbestos workers' union, it is provided that the employer will not contract out work relating to the preparation, distribution and application of pipe and boiler coverings. In No. 206, Johns-Manville (J-M), an association member engaged in a construction project, purchased from a manufacturer precut stainless steel bands for fastening insulation material around pipes. Since customarily the cutting work was reserved by the collective bargaining agreement for J-M employee members of Local 22, the union instructed its members at the jobsite not to install the precut bands. The association charged Local 22 with violating § 8(b)(4)(B) of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB, holding that the union's conduct had been taken to protest a deprivation of work traditionally performed by its members, and thus constituted primary activity, dismissed the charge, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The association petitioned for certiorari. In No. 413, Armstrong Company, an association member, was engaged in a construction project within the jurisdiction of Local 113, a sister union of Local 22. Armstrong bought from a manufacturer asbestos fittings upon which had already been performed the cutting and mitering operations customarily performed by Local 22 at an Armstrong shop. Local 113's agents informed Armstrong that the fittings would not be installed unless the cutting and mitering had been performed by its sister Local 22. The association charged Local 113 with violating § 8(b)(4)(B). The NLRB having found Local 113's conduct had been taken to preserve work customarily performed by Armstrong's own employees, and was thus primary, dismissed the charge. The Court of

Page 386 U. S. 665

Appeals reversed, holding that Local 113 had no economic interest in Local 22's breach of contract claim and that, therefore, Local 113 was coercing Armstrong not for its own benefit, but for that of another local at the expense of a neutral employer. The NLRB petitioned for certiorari.


1. In No. 206, there having been substantial evidence to support the NLRB's finding, the judgment is affirmed on the authority of National Woodwoork Mfrs. Assn. v. NLRB, ante, p. 386 U. S. 612. Pp. 666-667.

2. In No. 413, the NLRB's finding, supported by substantial evidence, was that Local 113's object was to influence Armstrong in a dispute with Armstrong employees, and not for its effect elsewhere. Since collective activity by employees of the primary employer was involved, the purpose of which was to affect its labor policies, the conduct of the members of Local 113 in support of their fellow employees was not secondary, and thus not violative of § 8(b)(4)(B). National Woodwork Mfrs. Assn., supra, followed. Pp. 386 U. S. 668-669.

357 F.2d 182, affirmed in No. 206, reversed in No. 413.

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