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Great Lakes Screw Corp. v. National Labor Relations Board

February 27, 1969

GREAT LAKES SCREW CORPORATION, PETITIONER,
v.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, RESPONDENT



Hastings and Knoch, Senior Circuit Judges, and Kerner, Circuit Judge.

Author: Hastings

HASTINGS, Sr. C.J.:

This case is before us on the petition of Great Lakes Screw Corporation to review and set aside an order of the National Labor Relations Board, issued against petitioner April 27, 1967 and amended May 1, 1967, pursuant to Section 10(f) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C.A. Section 160(f). The National Labor Relations Board, pursuant to Section 10(e) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C.A. Section 160(e), cross-petitions for enforcement of its order.

With few additions and modifications, the Board adopted the trial examiner's findings, conclusions and recommendations for relief. The Board's determinations in this dispute are reported at 164 N.L.R.B. 149, 164 NLRB No. 20. See 1967 CCH NLRB para. 21,288.

Since the transcript from the 23-day hearing before the trial examiner exceeds 4200 pages and since there are over 300 exhibits involved, we shall summarize only the salient facts apposite to the disposition of this review and cross-petition.

Petitioner, an Illinois corporation engaged in the manufacture and sale of screws and related products, was found guilty of thirty-four violations of § 8(a)(1), twenty-one violations of § 8(a)(3), and single violations of §§ 8(a)(2) and 8(a)(4), 29 U.S.C.A. § 158, as amended. Petitioner contests these findings.

Prior to addressing our attention to the question of the substantive merits of these unfair labor practice findings, it is incumbent upon us to confront and decide the threshold issue of whether petitioner was denied its constitutionally afforded and statutorily protected right to a fair hearing.

Petitioner contends that the actions of the trial examiner demonstrated pre-judicial bias which resulted in an unfair hearing and decision, thereby denying petitioner due process of law. Petitioner's brief sets forth numerous evidentiary and procedural rulings as well as credibility findings of the trial examiner which it views as prejudicial and constituting a denial of due process.

In addition to these alleged indicia, of bias, petitioner contends that the trial examiner's exclusion of petitioner's chief counsel on the thirteenth day of hearings is indicative of the examiner's partiality. Petitioner also asserts that such exclusion constituted a denial of its constitutional right to counsel and violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

Petitioner further alleges that the trial examiner's failure to disqualify himself from the hearing after the exclusion of counsel violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Board's rules and regulations, thereby depriving petitioner of due process of law and its statutory rights.

Lastly, petitioner contends that the trial examiner's decision manifests "overwhelming bias".

The Board found petitioner's various contentions unsupportable. Petitioner contends that the Board's findings in this regard are in total disregard of the record and contrary to law.

It remains for us to inquire whether the record sustains the Board's position or supports the contention of denial of due process.

At the outset, it should be noted that even a cursory examination of this record would reveal that the hearing before the trial examiner was scarred with antagonism, enmity and histrionic pettiness.*fn1 The hearing generated more heat than light. It is difficult to perceive how such marked proceedings could provide an atmosphere fully conducive to the systematic presentation of ...


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