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U.S. Supreme Court

Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Co. v. Labor Board, 338 U.S. 355 (1949)

Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Co. v. National Labor Relations Board

No. 47

Argued November 17, 1949

Decided December 5, 1949

338 U.S. 355


An employer and a labor organization entered into a closed shop agreement which was valid under the National Labor Relations Act and under state law. The agreement, which the employer had entered into in good faith, was of indefinite duration, and had been in effect more than four years. Pursuant to the agreement, upon the demand of the labor organization and in good faith, the employer discharged certain employees whom the labor organization had expelled from membership on account of their activity in behalf of a rival labor organization. The National Labor Relations Board thereupon found that the employer had violated §§ 8(1) and 8(3) of the Act, and ordered the discharged employees restored to their former positions without loss of seniority and pay.

Held: The order of the Board was not authorized by the Act, and was not entitled to enforcement. Pp. 338 U. S. 356-365.

(a) The application of the so-called Rutland Court doctrine, embodying a policy of the Labor Board, is rejected, since the Board cannot ignore the plain provisions of a valid contract made in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the statute and reform it to conform to the Board's idea of correct policy. Pp. 338 U. S. 362-364.

(b) Wallace Corp. v. Labor Board, 323 U. S. 248, distinguished. Pp. 338 U. S. 364-365.

171 F.2d 956, reversed.

An order of the National Labor Relations Board, 70 N.L.R.B. 1202, requiring petitioner to restore certain discharged employees to their former positions without loss of seniority and pay, was granted enforcement by the Court of Appeals. 171 F.2d 956. This Court granted certiorari. 337 U.S. 913. Reversed, p. 338 U. S. 365.

Page 338 U. S. 356

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