The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLLACK
This is an action under Section 9 of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. § 159) for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief and is brought by New York University ("N.Y.U.") as plaintiff against the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board") and its individual officers and regional director as defendants. Briefly stated, the action is aimed at preventing the Board from implementing its earlier decision of July 20, 1973 (reported at 205 N.L.R.B. No. 16) which ordered N.Y.U. to conduct a union representation election among certain segments of its faculty, librarians, and other professional staff.
Plaintiff N.Y.U. has moved for a preliminary injunction against the defendants seeking thereby to maintain the status quo pending a resolution of N.Y.U.'s contention that the order of the Board is based on conclusions which clearly ignore the relevant statutes and consequently is unlawful. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion is denied and the case dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Some two years ago, two labor organizations
filed petitions with the Board seeking certification as the exclusive representative for collective bargaining purposes on behalf of various individuals at N.Y.U., pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 159(c). That section states, in pertinent part:
"(c)(1) Whenever a petition shall have been filed in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Board-
(A) by an employee or group of employees or any individual labor organization acting on their behalf alleging that a substantial number of employees (i) wish to be represented for collective bargaining and that their employer declines to recognize their representative * * *
the Board shall investigate such petition and if it has reasonable cause to believe that a question of representation affecting commerce exists shall provide for an appropriate hearing upon due notice. Such hearing may be conducted by an officer or employee of the regional office, who shall not make any recommendations with respect thereto. If the Board finds upon the record of such hearing that such a question of representation exists, it shall direct an election by secret ballot and shall certify the results thereof. " (Emphasis added)
N.Y.U. contended-and contends again here-that the Board lacked jurisdiction over the subject matter of the proceedings since the individuals sought to be represented were not "employees" as defined in § 2(3) of the Act (29 U.S.C. § 152(3)). Instead, N.Y.U. asserted that the individuals were either "independent contractors" or "supervisors" as defined in § 2(11) (29 U.S.C. § 152(11)), and thus exempt from the application of the Act's certification procedures. Furthermore, they argued that the Law School faculty did not constitute a separate and distinct bargaining unit as the petitions had claimed.
Following a hearing duly held, the Board, on July 20, 1973, issued a lengthy decision holding that the individuals sought to be represented were "employees" within the meaning of the Act, and that if the Law School faculty so elected, it would be treated as a separate bargaining unit. Accordingly, the Board ordered elections to be held to select a representative bargaining group. N.Y.U.'s motion for reconsideration was denied on August 30, 1973.
Plaintiff then instituted this suit to void the action of the Board. In this Court, plaintiff does not dispute the facts found in the Board's decision. Nonetheless, plaintiff claims that, as a matter of law, the Board's conclusions on those facts are erroneous, arbitrary and capricious. In other words, the plaintiff contends that the functions of the individuals involved as expressed by the Board in its findings require the conclusions that (i) they are supervisors or independent contractors, and furthermore that (ii) the Board improperly delegated to the Law faculty a non-delegable function of the Board to determine whether it should be treated as a separate bargaining unit. These alleged errors are said to constitute action plainly in excess of statutory authority.
Asserting the threat of immediate and irreparable harm and the existence of a balance of the equities in its favor, plaintiff has requested a preliminary injunction against defendants during the pendency of this action from, inter alia, conducting the elections; requiring plaintiff to attend any preliminary meetings aimed at preparing for the election
or otherwise arranging for the elections; requiring plaintiff to furnish a list of eligible voters for the elections; requiring plaintiff to make its premises available for the purpose of posting notices of the elections, or in any way assisting in the conducting of the elections.
The threshold inquiry in all judicial matters-including motions for preliminary injunctions-is whether jurisdiction properly lies in this Court. Plaintiff has claimed jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1337.
That section, which gives this Court jurisdiction over civil actions arising under an act of Congress regulating commerce, has been interpreted as including the National Labor Relations Act within its broad ambit. See Capital Service v. N. L. R. B., 347 U.S. 501, 74 S. Ct. 699, 98 L. Ed. 887 (1954). But the law is similarly clear that Board representation hearings, such as the one involved in the instant situation, generally do not result in judicially reviewable final orders,
and thus this Court is normally without jurisdiction to enjoin a representation election ordered by the Board. See, e. g. Boire v. Greyhound Corp., 376 U.S. 473, 84 S. Ct. 894, 11 L. Ed. 2d 849 (1964); United Federation of College Teachers v. Miller, 479 F.2d 1074 (2d Cir. 1973); Rock-Hill Uris, Inc. v. McLeod, 344 F.2d 697 (2d Cir. 1965); Commarato v. McLeod, 335 F.Supp. 118 (S.D.N.Y.1971); The Children's Village v. Miller, 76 L.R.R.M. 2637 (S.D.N.Y.1971); City Cab Co. v. Roumell, 218 F.Supp. 669 (E.D.Mich.1963). Such orders are usually reviewable exclusively in the Court of Appeals under § 10(e) and (f) of the Act if and when they form the basis of a subsequent unfair labor ...