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National Labor Relations Board v. Business Machine and Office Appliance Mechanics Conference Board

December 22, 1955

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, PETITIONER,
v.
BUSINESS MACHINE AND OFFICE APPLIANCE MECHANICS CONFERENCE BOARD, LOCAL 459, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF ELECTRICAL, RADIO & MACHINE WORKERS, CIO, RESPONDENT.



Author: Lumbard

Before HAND, MEDINA and LUMBARD, Circuit Judges.

LUMBARD, C.J.:

This case arose out of a labor dispute between the Royal Typewriter Company and the Business Machine and Office Appliance Mechanics Conference Board, Local 459, IUE-CIO, the certified bargaining agent of Royal's typewriter mechanics and other service personnel. The National Labor Relations Board now seeks enforcement of an order directing the Union to cease and desist from certain picketing and to post appropriate notices.

The findings of the Board, adequately supported by the record, disclose the following facts, about which there is no signicant dispute. On about March 23, 1954, the Union, being unable to reach agreement with Royal on the terms of a contract, called the Royal service personnel out on strike. The service employees customarily repair typewriters either at Royal's branch offices or at its customers' premises. Royal has several arrangements under which it is obligated to render service to its customers. First, Royal's warranty on each new machine obligates it to provide free inspection and repair for one year. Second, for a fixed periodic fee Royal contracts to service machines not under warranty. Finally, Royal is committed to repairing typewriters rented from it or loaned by it to replace machines undergoing repair. Of course, in addition Royal provides repair services on call by non-contract users.

During the strike Royal differentiated between calls from customers to whom it owed a repair obligation and others. Royal's office personnel were instructed to tell the latter to call some independent repair company listed in the telephone directory. Contract customers, however, were advised to select such an independent from the directory, to have the repair made, and to send a receipted invoice to Royal for reimbursement for reasonable repairs within their agreement with Royal. Consequently many of Royal's contract customers had repair services performed by various independent repair companies. In most instances the customer sent Royal the unpaid repair bill and Royal paid the independent company directly. Among the independent companies paid directly by Royal for repairs made for such customers were Typewriter Maintenance and Sales Company and Tytell Typewriter Company.

On and after April 13, 1954 the Union picketed some of Royal's larger customers whom it had reason to believe were having independent companies do repair work on Royal contract machines. This picketing continued until restrained on June 15, 1954 by a temporary injunction issued by the District Court for the Southern District of New York, 122 F.Supp. 43. During this time the Union picketed some 37 customers of Royal at their principal offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn, usually in large office buildings. This picketing was in all cases peaceful and orderly. The Board found it unlawful with respect to six of Royal's customers: Electrolux Corporation, Royal Indemnity Insurance Co., Lily-Tulip Cup Corporation, Vick Chemical Co., New York Life Insurance Co., and American Can Co. With respect to these companies the Board found that the picketing took place before entrances "commonly used by members of the public, by employees of the picketed firm, and by employees of any other tenants of the building, and also by deliverymen making light deliveries." There was no evidence that the picketing took place at entrances used exclusively by employees. No violation was found with respect to the other customers because the Board found that there was no evidence that the picketing took place before entrances used or likely to be used by employees.

From April 13th until April 23rd, or shortly thereafter, the pickets carried signs reading (with minor variations and with the picketed customer's name inserted):

ROYAL BUSINESS MACHINES IN

N.Y. LIFE INS. CO.

are being repaired by

SCAB LABOR

LOCAL 459, IUE-CIO

Sometime after April 23rd the words "Notice to the Public Only" were added to the signs in large letters at the top. This was on advice of counsel after a conference with representatives of the Board who suggested that the picketing was unlawful. The picketing was carried on during ordinary business hours and during the time when at least some employees would be going to lunch. In at least one instance picketing began before the start of employees' working hours.

One of the picketed customers, Charles Pfizer, did agree to discontinue doing business with Royal and the Union withdrew its pickets. There is no evidence to indicate that this came about through ...


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