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William J. Burns International Detective Agency Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board

decided: April 26, 1971.

WILLIAM J. BURNS INTERNATIONAL DETECTIVE AGENCY, INC., PETITIONER
v.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, RESPONDENT. INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED PLANT GUARD WORKERS OF AMERICA ET AL., NO. 162, INTERVENOR



Hays and Feinberg, Circuit Judges, and Curtin, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Hays

HAYS, C. J.:

From 1962 until 1967 the Wackenhut Corporation provided plant protection services for the facility of the Lockheed Aircraft Service Company located at Ontario International Airport, Ontario, California. In 1967 Lockheed arranged with the William J. Burns International Detective Agency, petitioner on this appeal, to take over the plant protection duties from Wackenhut and on May 31, 1967 Lockheed notified Wackenhut that Burns would take over on July 1.

On March 8, 1967 the International Union, United Plant Guard Workers of America and its Amalgamated Local Union No. 162 were certified as representatives of Wackenhut's employees working at Lockheed and on April 29, 1967 Wackenhut and the union entered into a collective bargaining agreement to be in effect from April 29, 1967 until April 28, 1970.

On July 1, 1967 Burns took over the plant protection work at Lockheed. Burns employed for this purpose 42 guards, 27 of whom had previously been employed by Wackenhut.

The United Plant Guard Workers demanded that Burns recognize the union as the exclusive representative of Burns' employees at Lockheed and honor the collective agreement which the union had negotiated with Wackenhut. Burns refused both requests and the union thereupon filed unfair labor practice charges with the Board.

The Board, affirming a Trial Examiner's decision, held that Burns had violated Sections 8(a)(2) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(2) and (1) (1964)) by unlawfully recognizing and assisting the American Federation of Guards, a "rival" union; that it had violated Sections 8(a)(5) and (1) (29 U.S.C. § 158(a) (5) and (1) (1964)) by failing to recognize and bargain with the United Plant Guard Workers of America; and that Burns was obligated to honor the collective bargaining agreement which had been entered into between the latter union and the Wackenhut Corporation. Burns petitions for review of the Board's order except for that portion charging it with unlawful assistance and recognition of the American Federation of Guards; the Board cross petitions to enforce the entire order. We enforce the Board's order except for that part which requires the company to honor the collective agreement between Wackenhut and its union.

I.

The Board found that Burns violated Sections 8(a)(2) and (1) of the Act by unlawfully assisting and recognizing the American Federation of Guards. Although Burns has not petitioned for review of this portion of the order, it apparently seeks to avoid the consequences of the Board's action by stating that it "has elected to comply with that portion of the Board's order requiring it to cease and desist from recognizing the American Federation of Guards as representative of its guards at the Facility." The fact, however, that the employer is willing to comply does not render the cause moot; the Board may still seek and secure enforcement from the courts. NLRB v. Mexia Textile Mills, Inc., 339 U.S. 563, 567, 94 L. Ed. 1067, 70 S. Ct. 826 (1950). The Board's finding of unlawful assistance and recognition is amply supported by the record.We enforce that part of its order.

II.

The remainder of the Board's order deals with its finding that Burns unlawfully refused to recognize and bargain with the United Plant Guard Workers of America and to honor the collective bargaining agreement which that union negotiated with Burns' predecessor, Wackenhut.

Burns first contends that a bargaining unit limited only to Burns guards working at Lockheed is not appropriate and that therefore, the Board's order is not enforceable. Burns argues that the high degree of integration of its Ontario Sub-Office, which managed 30 contracts in addition to the contract at Lockheed, required a bargaining unit encompassing the entire area, particularly in view of the centralized control of labor relations that Burns claims existed there. The Board on the other hand, argues, in support of its finding, that Burns' employees serviced the same facility that was considered an appropriate unit for Wackenhut's employees, that Burns' employees had a community of interest, were supervised by one man on a full-time daily basis who had hiring and firing authority, and were paid a distinctly higher wage than other Burns employees in the Los Angeles branch area (which included Ontario).

The Board has a large measure of discretion in making unit determinations. See Packard Motor Car Co. v. NLRB, 330 U.S. 485, 491, 91 L. Ed. 1040, 67 S. Ct. 789 (1947); Continental Insurance Co. v. NLRB, 409 F.2d 727, 728 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 396 U.S. 902, 24 L. Ed. 2d 178, 90 S. Ct. 215 (1969). The centralization of final decisions on labor policy is not per se decisive of the extent of an appropriate unit where the Board has substantial justification for establishing a smaller unit. Continental Insurance Co. v. NLRB, supra at 729. We cannot say that the Board lacked such justification in this case.

We agree as well with the Board's finding that Burns is a successor employer to Wackenhut and as such is required to recognize the union chosen by Wackenhut's employees. See, e.g., Tom-A-Hawk Transit, Inc. v. NLRB, 419 F.2d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 1969). The determination that an employer is a successor is made on the basis of "continuity in the business operation," NLRB v. Zayre Corp., 424 F.2d 1159, 1162 (5th Cir. 1970), that is, whether the operation is "essentially the same as that previously conducted. . . ." S. S. Kresge Co. v. NLRB, 416 F.2d 1225, 1234 (6th Cir. 1969). Has the "employing industry . . . retained its identity and continuity to a degree sufficient to make it ...


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