Petition for review of a decision of the National Labor Relations Board finding that the employer had committed unfair labor practices in violation of §§ 8(a)(1), (3) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act and ordering it to cease and desist from further violations, to reinstate in their former positions and reimburse for losses suffered the two employees it had discriminatorily discharged, to bargain with the Union, and to post the usual notices. Cross-petition by the Board for enforcement of its order.
Kaufman and Anderson, Circuit Judges, and Tenney, District Judge.*fn*
This case is here on a petition of Trey Packing, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as the Company)*fn1 for review of the National Labor Relations Board's order of June 26, 1968.*fn2 The Board has cross-petitioned for enforcement of the order.
The Trial Examiner found, after a hearing, that the Company had violated § 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act by refusing to bargain with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Local No. 182 (hereinafter referred to as the Union), § 8(a)(1) of the Act by interrogating its employees concerning their union activities, threatening them with reprisals for union activities, and promising them benefits for refraining from union activity, and § 8(a)(3) by discharging two of its employees for union activity. The Board adopted the findings and conclusions of the Trial Examiner and ordered the Company to cease and desist from its unfair labor practices, to bargain with the Union, to reinstate the discharged employees in their former positions at its Oneida plant and reimburse them for any losses suffered as a result of the discriminatory discharges, and to post the usual notices. For the reasons below, we deny the Company's petition for review and grant the Board's cross-petition for enforcement of its order.
Trey Packing, Inc. is a New York corporation, with its principal place of business in Oneida, New York, where it is engaged in the processing, manufacture, sale and distribution of meat and meat products. At the time of the events in question, the Company employed at its Oneida plant five truckdrivers to make its pickups and deliveries, four of whom were over-the-road drivers while the fifth was a combination warehouseman-driver. In early June of 1967, one of the Company's drivers, Robert Hughes, telephoned L. Frank Parks, assistant business agent for the Union, and informed him that the drivers were interested in having the Union represent them. On June 10, all four of the Company's over-the-road drivers met and signed union authorization cards.*fn3 The Union then sent the Company a letter, which it received on June 14, stating that "the drivers at your Oneida, New York branch have become paid up members of the Teamsters Local No. 182," and requesting that the Company make arrangements to bargain with it. The Company failed to respond to this letter.
About June 17, William Trexler, one of the Company's drivers, went to see Lawrence Goldwasser, the secretary of the Company, and son of its president, concerning another matter. During the course of the conversation, Trexler asked Goldwasser how he felt about the Union. According to Trexler's testimony, which the Trial Examiner found credible, he stated to Goldwasser, " . . . as you probably know, we joined the union," to which Goldwasser responded that he would like to know why the men took this step. He went on to state that matters of dissatisfaction could have been worked out without the Union, and asked Trexler which of the employees had signed cards. Trexler answered that "all four drivers" had signed and given the cards to Parks. Goldwasser said in response that if the Union were chosen as the employees' bargaining representative, its demands would be so high that in the future he would not be able to afford to let the men work 40 hours a week as had been their custom, and that he would no longer be able to talk to them "man to man." A few days later, Goldwasser advised Trexler that if the Union became the employees' representative, the Company could ship by "gypsy" drivers and lay off some of the workers.
Trexler also testified that he had another conversation with Goldwasser on Friday, June 23, at which time he asked Goldwasser to speak to the drivers and to convey to them directly his feelings about the Union. Goldwasser replied that he could not, but asked Trexler to do so in his behalf, and to inform the men that if they withdrew from the Union, "things would be as . . . before." Goldwasser went on to say that his father had started trucking out of Oneida as an experiment, and that if the men persisted in unionizing, he might discontinue the operation and dismiss the drivers. He further commented that the Company had originally moved to Oneida to get away from the Union. The conversation concluded with Goldwasser's request that Trexler should "see what [he] can do," and advise Goldwasser of the men's decision at their forthcoming meeting.*fn4
The following day, Trexler went to the home of John Wands, the Company's plant manager, and told him about the meeting he was planning at Goldwasser's suggestion. According to Trexler, Wands stated that he had been instructed not to talk to the drivers about the Union, but he nevertheless went on to say that the Union would not be successful, and that if it were, the men would not be driving any longer for the Company.
On Monday, June 26, Trexler met Goldwasser again. At that time, in response to Goldwasser's questions, Trexler told him that the employees had decided not to withdraw from the Union. When Goldwasser asked which of the drivers refused to withdraw, Trexler named Robert Robinson and Robert Hughes. About an hour after this conversation, Goldwasser summoned these two men to his office and told them that they were being laid off, giving each a letter stating that the reason for this action was "[a] decrease in the transportation of our products and the products of other companies with which we deal." Goldwasser further advised the men that the layoff was to take effect immediately, and that they should not finish unloading the truck then in process.
Another of the drivers, Donald Baker, testified that on June 22, Wands telephoned and asked him to meet Wands the following morning. At this meeting, Wands also asked about the grievances of the drivers, stated that the Company could be helpful without the Union and that the Union "was a crook" and could be bought off. He then inquired if Baker intended to remain with the Union, to which Baker replied that he was undecided. Wands then declared that if the employees dropped out of the Union they would keep their jobs, but that if they did not, the Company could ship by common carrier as it had before and would lay off some employees. Baker also testified that he spoke with Goldwasser on or about July 5, at which time Goldwasser told him that there would be an increase in pay in early August, and that if he did not join the Union he could have a job working on the inside of the plant, as Baker had previously requested.
Ruth Trexler, the driver's wife, testified that Wands told her that Hughes and Robinson had been given a chance to drop out of the Union (at this time they had already been discharged), that her husband would have a job as long as he remained loyal to the Company, and that if Baker did not ...