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U.S. Supreme Court

Labor Board v. Denver Bldg. Council, 341 U.S. 675 (1951)

National Labor Relations Board v. Denver Building &

Construction Trades Council

No. 393

Argued February 27, 1951

Decided June 4, 1951

341 U.S. 675


1. A decision of a district court in a preliminary proceeding under § 10(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, that the activities complained of did not affect interstate commerce and were therefore not within the jurisdiction of the Board, was not res judicata of that issue in a proceeding on the merits under § 10(e) and (f). Pp. 341 U. S. 681-683.

2. A subcontractor engaged by a general contractor to do the electrical work on a building being constructed purchased $86,560 of raw materials during the year, $55,745 of which were purchased outside the state. It performed no services outside the state, but shipped $5,000 of its products outside the state. It had expended $315 for labor and $350 for materials on the project when its services were terminated because of a strike. Both the National Labor Relations Board and the Court of Appeals found that the strike affected interstate commerce.

Held: this conclusion is sustained. Pp. 341 U. S. 683-685.

(a) The fact that the instant building, after its completion, might be used only for local purposes does not alter the fact that its construction, as distinguished from its later use, affected interstate commerce. P. 341 U. S. 684.

(b) The maxim de minimis non curat lex did not require the Board to refuse to take jurisdiction of the instant case. P. 341 U. S. 685.

3. The National Labor Relations Board found that, by engaging in a strike an object of which was to force the general contractor on a construction project to terminate its contract with a subcontractor employing nonunion labor on the project, respondent labor organization committed an unfair labor practice within the meaning of § 8(b)(4)(A) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended by the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947.

Held: this finding is sustained. Labor Board v. Rice Milling Co., ante p. 341 U. S. 665, distinguished. Pp. 341 U. S. 685-692.

(a) It was an object of the strike to force the contractor to terminate the contract of the electrical subcontractor. Pp. 341 U. S. 687-689.

Page 341 U. S. 676

(b) A strike with such an object is an unfair labor practice within the meaning of § 8(b)(4)(A), even though that may not be the sole object. Pp. 341 U. S. 689-690.

(c) Section 8(c) safeguarding freedom of speech has no significant application to the picket's placard in this case, and does not immunize respondent's action against the specific provisions of § 8(b)(4)(A). See Electrical Workers v. Labor Board, post, p. 341 U. S. 694. Pp. 341 U. S. 690-691.

(d) The Board's findings on questions of fact in this field are conclusive when supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole, and the Board's interpretation and application of the Act in doubtful situations are entitled to weight. Pp. 341 U. S. 691-692.

(e) As applied in this case, the views of the Board conform with the dual congressional objective of preserving the right of labor organizations to bring pressure to bear on offending employers in primary labor disputes and of shielding unoffending employers and others from pressures in controversies not their own. P. 341 U. S. 692.

87 U.S.App.D.C. 293, 186 F.2d 326, reversed.

The National Labor Relations Board found respondents guilty of an unfair labor practice within the meaning of § 8(b)(4)(A) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended by the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, and ordered it to cease and desist. 82 N.L.R.B. 1195. The Court of Appeals denied enforcement. 87 U.S.App.D.C. 293, 186 F.2d 326. This Court granted certiorari. 340 U.S. 902. Reversed, p. 341 U. S. 692.

Page 341 U. S. 677

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