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National Labor Relations Board v. Keystone Freight Lines.

November 10, 1941


On Petition for Enforcement of an Order of the National Labor Relations Board.


Before PHILLIPS, MURRAH, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.

MURRAH, Circuit Judge.

By these proceedings, the petitioner, National Labor Relations Board, herein called Board, seeks to enforce an order issued by it against the respondent, the Keystone Freight Lines, herein called Keystone.

Keystone is a common carrier, engaged in the trucking of freight and other commodities over regular routes through the states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas.

On complaint of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Stablemen and Helpers, Local 523, herein called Local 523, charging Keystone with unfair labor practices under Section 8(1)(2)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. ยง 151 et seq., the Board found that the Keystone had dominated and interfered with the formation and operation of the Keystone Union, an independent union, composed of the employees of Keystone, and had contributed support to it in violation of Section 8(2) of the Act. The Board further found that the respondents had discharged and refused to reinstate two employees (Roy E. Dowd and Harvey Rolen) because of their union membership and activities in violation of Section 8(3) of the Act, and had thereby interfered, restrained and coerced the employees in the exercise of free bargaining rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the Act, in violation of Section 8(1).

The Board ordered Keystone (1) to cease and desist from its unfair labor practices, (2) to disestablish Keystone Independent and cease giving effect to its bargaining agreement with the Keystone Independent, (3) to offer reinstatement to the two discharged employees and to make them whole for the period during which they had been discharged, and (4) to post appropriate notices showing compliance with the order.

The Keystone denied any illegal contribution, interference, or domination in the formation of the Independent Union in violation of Section 8(2), or any discrimination with respect to hire and tenure in violation of Section 8(3).

The Keystone Independent Union, by intervention, denied the claimed domination and interference, contending that it met the requirements of the Act.

There are two questions presented, (1) does the evidence support the findings of unfair labor practices under Section 8(2), and (2) does the evidence support the findings of the Board that Rolen and Dowd were discharged because of their membership in, and activities with, Local 523 in violation of Section 8(3)(1).

This controversy has its genesis in the formation of the Keystone Union's predecessor, herein called Adams Independent, while most of the employees involved were employed by the Keystone's predecessor, the Adams Storage Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The record reveals the following facts:

Keystone was organized in January, 1938. During the first two months of its existence it was purely an intrastate carrier with very few employees and a small volume of business over short routes. On March 23, 1938, it acquired from the Adams Transfer and Storage Company, an interstate motor carrier, a substantial part of the state motor carrier, a substantial part of the latter's truck routes, together with its automotive, office, shop and warehouse equipment, and leases of terminal facilities. The transfer was effected without interruption of service or schedules on the routes acquired. The Keystone took over, without substantial change, Adams' entire personnel on these routes, including General Manager Sears and Dock Foreman Keffer of the Tulsa, Oklahoma terminal.

Before the above mentioned transaction, and in the Fall of 1937, Local 523 made an effort to bargain with Adams on behalf of certain employees operating out of the Tulsa terminal. Adams, as President of the Adams Company, called a meeting of all of the employees and after stating to them that he had no interest in their union affiliations, took a poll of the employees for the purpose of determining whether or not they wished to be represented by Local 523. By a vote of 18 to 2 the employees repudiated Local 523 as their bargaining agent. Soon thereafter, and in October, 1937, Shutler, a truck driver employed by Adams, began soliciting membership in an independent union during working hours at the Adams terminal in Tulsa. Thereafter, and in November, 1937, a number of the employees met at the home of Keffer for the purpose of organizing the Adams Union Truck Terminal Road Drivers, Pickup Drivers, Dock Workers, and Garage Men's Union. An attorney was present with prepared articles of association. After discussion, the articles were adopted by those present and the organization of the Union was consummated by the election of Shutler president, Dozier vice-president, Beals secretary, and Summerlin treasurer. The by-laws of the association provided that each member would pay to the Union $1 per month dues. Two of those present at the meeting lived at the home of Keffer, where the meeting was held, but Keffer denied that he had any knowledge of the meeting until after it was held. The Board thought this was difficult to believe, and by inference found that the meeting was held with his knowledge and consent.

Soon thereafter, the Adams Company recognized the Union, entered into a contract with it, the exact contents of which no one seems to know, except that it did provide for closed shop agreement and compulsory payment of dues. There is no ...

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