NLRB V. IRONWORKERS, 466 U. S. 720 (1984)

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U.S. Supreme Court

NLRB v. Ironworkers, 466 U.S. 720 (1984)

National Labor Relations Board v. International

Association of Bridge, Structural & Ornamental

Ironworkers, Local 480, AFL-CIO

No. 83-1202

Decided May 14, 1984

466 U.S. 720


In May, 1978, the National Labor Relations Board found that respondent union had violated the National Labor Relations Act by discriminating against nonmembers in its hiring hall referral practices. The Board ordered the union to compensate the five charging parties and other "similarly situated" employees for lost earnings, to be calculated according to a formula established by the Board. In May, 1979, the Court of Appeals granted enforcement of the Board's order. The Board then began preparation of a backpay specification, to identify employees who had been subjected to discrimination and to determine the amount of backpay due to each employee. However, for various reasons, preparation of the backpay specification was delayed, and in 1982, the Court of Appeals ordered the Board to enter the specification by December 31, 1982. On December 21, 1982, the Board submitted its specification, but it later revised the specification to incorporate more complete information. Ultimately, in July, 1983, the Court of Appeals modified the Board's order to require that the union tender backpay only to the charging parties and only as calculated by the backpay specification of December 21, 1982. The court gave as its justification for modifying the Board's order "the length of time that elapsed since the entry of [the court's] original judgment."

Held: The Court of Appeals may not refuse to enforce the backpay order merely because of the Board's delay subsequent to that order in formulating a backpay specification. NLRB v. Rutter-Rex Mfg. Co., 396 U. S. 258. "[T]he Board is not required to place the consequences of its own delay, even if inordinate, upon wronged employees." Id. at 396 U. S. 265. By restricting the beneficiaries of the Board's remedy and abridging procedures lawfully established by the Board for determining the amount of backpay, the Court of Appeals' order under review punishes employees for the Board's nonfeasance.

Certiorari granted; 598 F.2d 611, reversed and remanded.

Page 466 U. S. 721

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