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National Labor Relations Board v. Knitgoods Workers Union Local 155

decided: November 14, 1968.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, PETITIONER,
v.
KNITGOODS WORKERS UNION LOCAL 155, INTERNATIONAL LADIES GARMENT WORKERS, AFL-CIO, RESPONDENT



Friendly, Anderson and Feinberg, Circuit Judges.

Author: Anderson

ANDERSON, C. J.:

This is a petition by the National Labor Relations Board seeking enforcement of its order issued on October 13, 1967 against respondent, Knitgoods Workers Union Local 155, for unlawful picketing in violation of § 8(b)(7)(B) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 158(b)(7)(B).

Boulevard Knitwear Corp. (the Company) was engaged in the manufacture, sale and distribution of ladies' sweaters and related items. Before the occurrence of the events hereinafter described, the Company, operating as a non-union shop, performed 90 to 100 per cent of its work for two jobbers, Bobbie Brooks and Russ Toggs.

On October 10, 1966, the Union began to picket the Company's plant with signs which read:

BOULEVARD KNITWEAR CORP. UNFAIR TO ORGANIZED LABOR

KNITGOODS WORKERS' UNION LOCAL 155 AFFILIATED WITH THE

INTERNATIONAL LADIES GARMENT WORKERS UNION AFL-CIO

Union authorization cards were distributed to Company employees as they arrived for work. That same morning, two organizers for the Local, Jacobson and Lewis, visited Epstein, the Company's secretary-treasurer, and Rubinstein, its president. From the conflicting testimony about what happened at that meeting, the Trial Examiner, crediting the account given by Epstein and Rubinstein, found that, among other things, the two organizers asked why the Company did not sign a union contract, to which the Company's officers replied that the employees did not want a union. The organizers then said that the Company would have to join the Union and that they would see them a few days later. From uncontradicted evidence, the Trial Examiner found that Jacobson returned a week later with the threat that unless the Company joined up, he would have Bobbie Brooks, which was then under Union contract, take away all of its work from the Company. Bobbie Brooks, under Union pressure, did just that in early November, and Russ Toggs, for a like reason, followed suit shortly thereafter. In addition, truckers refused to cross the picket lines which remained in continuous operation. As a result, by late November, the Company was forced to cease all operations.

In the meantime, the Company petitioned the Board for a representation election. The Union, in an effort to avoid that election, wrote to the Board on November 16, 1966 to deny that its picketing had either a recognitional or organizational object, as defined in § 8(b)(7) of the Act. The Regional Director rejected this disclaimer and ordered an election in which the employees unanimously voted against the Union. Although the Union was notified by December 12th that it had lost the election, it continued to picket until December 19th.

On December 20, 1966, the Union notified both the Board's Regional Office and the Company that it would suspend its picketing from December 20 to December 26 "to disassociate the resumed picketing from the prior picketing in order to avoid any misunderstanding to the object of the picketing when resumed." The new picketing would only give publicity to the Company's employment conditions. Accordingly, on December 27, the pickets returned with these signs:

EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS OF BOULEVARD KNITWEAR CORPORATION ARE BELOW UNION CONDITIONS IN THIS AREA.

KNITGOODS WORKERS UNION LOCAL 155, ...


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