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Union Drawn Steel Co. v. National Labor Relations Board.

January 20, 1940


Petition to Review and Set Aside Order of National Labor Relations Board.

Author: Biggs

Before BIGGS, MARIS, and BIDDLE, Circuit Judges.

BIGGS, Circuit Judge.

The National Labor Relations Board has found that the petitioners dominated and interfered with the formation and administration of two labor organizations, viz., Independent Protective Association of Employees of the Union Drawn Steel Plants No. 1 and No. 3, and Employees for Union Drawn Steel Company Plants No. 1 and No. 3; discouraged membership in other labor organizations, viz., Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers of North America and Steel Workers Organizing Committee; and also discriminated in regard to the hire and tenure of two employees, Thomas Eurick and Wilfred Thomas, thereby discouraging membership in the two labor organizations last named. The Board entered an order requiring the petitioners to cease and desist from dominating or interfering with the administration of Independent Protective Association and Employees of Union Drawn Steel Company; from discouraging membership in the Amalgamated Association or in the Steel Workers Organizing Committee or in any other labor organizations by discriminating in regard to hire and tenure of employment or in any manner coercing their employees or interfering with their rights of self-organization. The Board's order also requires the respondents to withdraw all recognition from Independent Protective Association and Employees of Union Drawn Steel, to reinstate Eurick and Thomas without loss of seniority or other rights, to make them whole as to back pay, and to post the usual notices signifying their compliance with the order.

The primary question presented for our determination is whether or not the findings of the Board find support in the record and are not arbitrary or capricious. If supported by substantial evidence, they are conclusive. 49 Stat. 455, Section 10(e), 29 U.S.C.A. ยง 160(e); National Labor Relations Board v. Columbian Enameling & Stamping Co., 306 U.S. 292, 299, 300, 59 S. Ct. 501, 83 L. Ed. 660; National Labor Relations Board v. Fansteel Metallurgical Corporation, 306 U.S. 240, 262, 59 S. Ct. 490, 83 L. Ed. 627, 123 A.L.R. 599; Washington, Virginia & Maryland Coach Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 301 U.S. 142, 147, 57 S. Ct. 648, 81 L. Ed. 965; National Labor Relations Board v. Griswold Manufacturing Company, 3 Cir., 106 F.2d 713; Republic Steel Corporation v. National Labor Relations Board, 3 Cir., 107 F.2d 472, 476.

The facts disclosed by the record are as follows. Union Drawn Steel Company, the petitioner, was a wholly owned subsidiary of the petitioner Republic Steel Corporation until October 31, 1937. Upon that day all of its assets were transferred to Republic and all of its liabilities were assumed by that company. Dissolution papers were filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but the record does not show whether Union's dissolution actually has been effected. The company engages in the manufacture of cold drawn steel and steel stock. Its plants 1 and 3 produce in excess of 3,000 tons of steel a month. About 90% of Union's necessary raw materials are secured outside of Pennsylvania and approximately 80% of its finished products are shipped to points outside that State. There can be no doubt that Union's operations come within the purview of the National Labor Relations Act. See National Labor Relations Board v. Fainblatt, 306 U.S. 601, 604, 59 S. Ct. 668, 83 L. Ed. 1014, and the decisions there cited. After October 31, 1937, Union's operations were conducted by Republic Steel Corporation, Union's plants and personnel serving as a division of Republic.

Early in May, 1937, the Steel Workers Organizing Committee endeavored to enlist members at Union's plants 1 and 3. Agents of the S.W.O.C. induced Union's employees to strike upon the evening of May 27, 1937. This strike occurred because these employees were in sympathy with a strike already in progress at certain of the Republic plants of Republic Steel Corporation and because Union's employees were dissatisfied with the nature of their employee representation. The strike was unsuccessful, however, and came to an end upon June 28, 1937.

About June 27, 1937, the petitioners caused to be mailed to Union's employees a derogatory letter concerning the C.I.O. with which the S.W.O.C. was affiliated, stating that the C.I.O. was communistic in its nature and anti-social in its tendencies. Each of these letters was accompanied by a pamphlet entitled, "What the Editors are Saying about the Republic Strike". Subsequently other pamphlets were sent by the petitioners to Union's employees. A typical article contained in them stated that Moscow had been assured that the C.I.O. was leading the American people to bolshevism.

While the strike was in progress, vigorous efforts were made by Union's officials to induce its employees to return to work. Eakin, Steffens, Milnes and other employees aided the company officials in this movement. Eakin's and Steffens' efforts in this regard commenced about June 20, and ended with the breaking of the strike on June 28, 1937.

On June 29, Vice-President Creighton of Union heard that the S.W.O.C. was holding meetings throughout the Valley to induce volunteers to come to Beaver Falls to compel the Union's plants to close again. He thereupon got in touch with Williams, Republic's chief of police. Men were recruited by Williams to come to Beaver Falls and these recruits were put under the charge of J. E. Meadows.Meadows came to Beaver Falls from the Trotter Coal Mining Company of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, one of Republic's subsidiary companies. The anticipated violence did not come to pass, but Meadows remained upon the scene to play a leading part in the events which transpired subsequently.

Meadows stated at the hearings before the Examiner that he had been employed by Union to "look after the welfare of the interest of the employees and of the company as far as seeing that they are not interfered with in their rights as citizens." Upon at least one occasion he represented himself to be a sergeant of Republic's plant police. Upon the stand he proved to be a vague and evasive witness, if not a perjurious one. For this reason it is difficult to describe exactly the basis of his employment. Certain facts stand out, however. Among them are the following.

In the first week of September, 1937 Meadows wrote to the Industrial Defense Association, Inc., of Boston and asked that he be sent a thousand copies of "circulars and other literature you may have for distribution on C.I.O." He received these circulars and, admittedly, distributed them to persons outside Union's plant. He denied distributing the circulars within the plant, but the Board rightly gave small credence to this denial. These pamphlets contained many statements attacking the C.I.O. The following are typical: "The invisible driving force of the C.I.O., with John L. Lewis as its ostensible head, is composed largely of revolutionary outcasts from the slums and gutters of Europe and Asia", and, "In 1920 the Satanical-minded leaders of the U.S.S.R. formed the Red International of Labor Unions, for the purpose of consolidating the rangs of anti-Christian and atheistic elements in skilled and unskilled labor circles. Through its American branch and may subsidiary groups this Red International is responsible for the formation and has furnished the driving force behind the program of the Committee for Industrial Organization * * * "

Prior to the time when the Supreme Court held the National Labor Relations Act constitutional, Union had maintained a representation plan for its employees. Under this plan an annual election was held at which members were election was resent the employees in their dealings with the management. Eakin and Steffens, to whom we have referred previously, were leaders in this organization. Admittedly, this organization was company-dominated for following the decisions of the Supreme Court, and early in May, 1937, Vice-President Creighton informed Union's employees at a meeting called for that purpose that the National Labor Relations Act prevented the continuance of the representation plan. He also stated that while Union's employees had the right to join any labor organization they desired, none the less it could not be said that the C.I.O. could represent them more successfully than had the abandoned representation plan. Creighton also indicated that another plan would be worked out to take the place of the representation plan. Very soon thereafter, Eakin and Steffens and other employees endeavored to create a labor organization known as the "Security League". Both Eakin and Steffens endeavored to secure members for the League in the plant and during working hours with the apparent approval and assistance of supervisory employees. The League never became fully organized, however. Despite this fact Eakin and Steffens, working during the latter part of June and the early part of July, succeeded in getting a number of Union's employees to "swear out" of the S.W.O.C. by an oath taken before a local magistrate.

At this point Meadows again came actively upon the scene for at the end of the first week in July, he engaged a hall in Beaver Falls for a meeting of union's employees. The meeting was duly held and was attended by most of the men who had returned to work. The meeting was nominally in charge of Eakin but Meadows seems to have dominated it. He told the workmen of the disadvantages of outside unions and of the advantages of keeping dues at home. He stated that the workmen "should organize with the intentions of creating a brotherly love, love for their fellowmen." He also advised the men present to consult some local attorney so that they might be ...

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