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National Labor Relations Board v. Atkins

February 27, 1945

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
v.
E. C. ATKINS & CO.



Author: Major

Before SPARKS, MAJOR, and KERNER, Circuit Judges.

MAJOR, Circuit Judge.

This case is here on petition of the National Labor Relations Board for enforcement of its order issued May 30, 1944, against respondent, pursuant to Sec. 10(c) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. 160(c). The Board, upon a charge filed by the International Association of Machinists, District 90, and its affiliate Local 1683 (hereinafter called the Union), issued its complaint charging that respondent had violated Section 8(5) and (1) of the Act, 29 U.S.C.A. 158(5 and 1). In its answer to the Board's complaint, respondent admitted that it had refused to bargain collectively with the Union, as alleged in the complaint, but urged that members of the unit for whom the Union sought to bargain were not employes of respondent within the meaning of the Act, and that consequently its refusal to bargain did not constitute a violation. The Board decided adversely to respondent and entered its cease and desist order now sought to be enforced.

No evidence was offered by either of the parties at the hearing on the unfair labor practice charge; however, it was stipulated that the evidence which had theretofore been offered in a representation proceeding should be considered. In this latter proceeding, instituted by the Union on October 19, 1943, it was determined by the Board that the militarized plant guards at respondent's plants were employes within the meaning of the Act and that, excluding certain supervisory employes, they constituted an appropriate bargaining unit within the meaning of Section 9 of the Act, 29 U.S.C.A. 159. The Board accordingly directed that an election be held among the employes in said unit. Following the election, the Board on November 29, 1943, certified the Union as the exclusive bargaining representative for such employes.

The primary issue now presented, stripped of all camouflage, is whether the members of the unit for whom the Union sought to bargain were employes of respondent within the meaning of Section 2(2) and (3) of the Act, 29 U.S.C.A. 152(2 and 3). It is also contended by respondent that even though the position of the Board be sustained in this respect, its order should not be enforced, on the ground that its enforcement would not effectuate the policies of the Act.

Respondent urgently insists that the findings of the Board are insufficient to support its order, and particularly that at no time has the Board made a specific finding on the issue as to whether the members of the bargaining unit are its employes within the meaning of the Act. While there is some merit in this criticism, it cannot be doubted but that the Board determined such issue adversely to respondent and that respondent was aware of such determination. Respondent also contends that the Board was without authority in the unfair labor practice case to make findings in addition to those made in the representation case. It is true, as already stated, that no additional evidence was offered in the latter case but, nevertheless, we are of the view that the Board, with the record of both proceedings before it, had a right to make such further findings as it deemed appropriate.

We are of the view, also, that the findings contained in its decision in the unfair labor practice case, if substantially supported, are sufficient to support its order. In studying this record for the purpose of ascertaining if such support is present, we are not unmindful of the admonition so often repeated that a court is not permitted to weigh the evidence and substitute its judgment for that of the Board. As stated in the recent case of National Labor Relations Board v. Hearst Publications, Inc., 322 U.S. 111, 130, 64 S. Ct. 851, 860: "Hence in reviewing the Board's ultimate conclusions, it is not the court's function to substitute its own inferences of fact for the Board's, when the latter have support in the record."

The Hearst case is strongly relied upon by the Board. It is true that the issue there decided, that is, whether the members of the unit which sought the right to bargain were employes within the meaning of the Act, was the same as the issue in the instant case. The facts of that case, however, are so widely different from those of the instant case that it is of little, if any, assistance here. It is pertinent to note that the court was particular to point out in detail the vast amount of control which the publisher had over the newsboys in question. The court also recognized that many forms of service relationship are not within the meaning of the Act. It stated at page 126 of 322 U.S., at page 858 of 64 S. Ct.: "Large numbers will fall clearly on one side or on the other, by whatever test may be applied. But intermediate there will be many, the incidents of whose employment partake in part of the one group, in part of the other, in varying proportions of weight. And consequently the legal pendulum, for purposes of applying the statute, may swing one way or the other, depending upon the weight of this balance and its relation to the special purpose at hand."

Therefore, we are of the view that the decision in the Hearst case requires rather than precludes a review of the facts in the instant case, with a view of ascertaining if they reasonably support the Board's order.Furthermore, we are of the view that common-law tests are not to be ignored, although not exclusively controlling, and that any test utilized must be consistent with the purposes of the Act.

Respondent is a corporation operating two plants in Indianapolis, Indiana. One of such plants (referred to as the Main Plant) has been owned and operated by respondent since 1857; the other (referred to as Fall Creek Ordance Plant) is owned by the federal government and was constructed for war purposes. Respondent operates the latter under a lease from the federal government, the terms and conditions of which are confidential for military reasons. The latter is a military reservation, and the Main Plant is listed by the government as a restricted area under government supervision.

Since 1941, respondent has been engaged exclusively in the manufacture of armor plate for the federal government. Prior thereto, it was engaged in the production of saws and saw tools at the Main Plant. At that time respondent had as its employes some fifty-nine sawsmiths who for a period of over forty years had been organized by and were members of the Sawsmiths Federal Labor Union No. 18548 (sometimes referred to as the Federal Local), and 1,208 production and maintenance employes who had since 1937 been members of United Steel Workers of America, Local 1543, affiliated with the C.I.O. (sometimes referred to as the C.I.O. Local). Respondent also had four employes, designated as watchmen, who were not members of any Union. Two of these employes worked on the night shift and two on the day shift. The duties of the former were to check the eighty-two night clocks in the plant, and those of the latter to watch or guard the gates of the plant. These four jobs were known as "pensioners' jobs."

The authority for the establishment of a plant guard system flows from Executive Order 8972, issued by the President of the United States on December 12, 1941. The order is entitled: "Authorizing The Secretary Of War And The Secretary Of The Navy To Establish And Maintain Military Guard And Patrols, And To Take Other Appropriate Measures, To Protect Certain National-Defense Material, Premises, And Utilities From Injury Or Destruction." The resolution, after reciting the situation pertaining to the crisis confronting the government as a result of war, states: "Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander-in-Chief on the Army and Navy of the United States, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, whenever he deems such action to be necessary or desirable, * * * to establish and maintain military guards and patrols, and to take other appropriate measures, to protect from injury or destruction national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities * * *."

It is to be noted that the purpose for which a plant guard system was to be inaugurated is clearly stated in this executive proclamation.

In conformity with such order, there was issued by the War Department under date of July 2, 1942, a proclamation entitled "Military Organization of Plant Guard Forces," which provided in part:

"Guard forces at all War Department plants * * * are to be organized, drilled and instructed as military units subject to the Articles of War.

"These guard forces will be organized as a civilian auxiiliary to the Military Police in all ammunition plants and plants where the possibility of sabotage is greatest * * *.

"At the time any guard force is organized as a civilian auxiliary to the Military Police, the commanding officer having jurisdiction over the guard force will:

"a. Cause the Articles of War prescribed by Article 110 thereof to be read and explained to each member of the guard force;

"b. Issue orders and regulations setting forth the duties and responsibilities of the guard force;

"c. Organize each guard force with a member of the Army of the United States in command and cause each force to be drilled and instructed with a view to supplementing the Army in resisting attack on war material, war premises, and war utilities which the force is assigned to guard.

"d. Require each member of the guard force to give a pledge of loyalty to the United States, and to execute an agreement acknowledging that such Articles of War are understood by him and that he is subject to military law as long as he remains a member of the guard force. (A draft of a form of such agreement is attached.)"

The form of agreement is entitled, "Agreement between the United States of America and ." (Plant Guard) The proposed agreement states that the government is approving the employment of guards "for the purpose of guarding and protecting war material, war premises and war utilities from injury or destruction by the enemy or otherwise, including the making of arrests, as peace officers for violations of Federal laws, as well as for violations of orders and regulations issued by military authority." The proposed agreement then provides:

"Now, therefore, I,, who have been or am about to be employed by as a guard at for the purpose of guarding certain war material, war premises, and war utilities, in consideration of my employment or the continuation of my employment, do agree with the United States of America that:

"(1) I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;

"(2) I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States;

"(3) I will well and faithfully discharge my duty as a civilian auxiliary to the military police to protect war material, war premises, and war utilities against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and will obey any orders issued in connection therewith by the President, as Commander-in-Chief of ...


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