Center for United Labor Action, 873 (1975)


Center for United Labor Action and Sibley , Lindsay and Curr Company. Case 3-CC-808


On November 14, 1974, Administrative Law Judge Sidney J. Barban issued the attached Decision ' in this proceeding. Thereafter, General Counsel and the Charging Party filed exceptions and briefs , and the Respondent filed an answering brief and crossexceptions and a brief in support thereof.

The Board has considered the record and the attached Decision in light of the exceptions and briefs and has decided to affirm the rulings , findings, and conclusions of the Administrative Law Judge, as herein modified, and to adopt his recommended Order.

We agree with the Administrative Law Judge's conclusion that Respondent CULA is not a labor organization within the meaning of Section 2 (5) of the Act and his reason for reaching this conclusion;

namely, that to qualify as a labor organization under our Act the organization must be selected and designated by employees for the purpose of resolving their conflicts with employers and Respondent clearly does not meet such a test. We do not agree, however, with the Administrative Law Judge's subsidiary finding that Respondent exists in part for the purpose of dealing with employers concerning employee labor relations matters.

The evidence shows that Respondent is one of several branches of the parent CULA and that the general aims and purposes of CULA and its branches are to assist minorities, women, consumers, and especially workers in their asserted struggle against organizations which are adversely affecting their rights or interests. In the context of employer-employee relations, CULA and its branches join and support employees in their protest against alleged employer injustices and seek to rally public opinion in favor of the employees' cause. In the course of such activities, the parent CULA and Respondent have supported strikes by joining in the picketing and leafleting of employers and, in certain instances, engaged in fundraising activities on behalf of strikers; however, neither organization has ever sought to deal directly with employers concerning employee labor relations matters.

The Administrative Law Judge found that Respondent is an organization in which employees par1 The Administrative Law Judge inadvertently issued the attached as a Decision instead of a Supplemental Decision . The Board Decision issued at 209 NLRB 814 (1974).

873 ticipate and that there can be no question that Respondent does concern itself with employee grievances, wages, hours of employment, and conditions of work, and with labor disputes. Although recognizing that Respondent does not deal directly with employers, the Administrative Law Judge postulated that it made very little difference whether or not Respondent had direct contact with an employer, since its picketing, leafleting, and related activities were designed to cause the employer to act in accordance with Respondent's expressed desire. Hence, the Administrative Law Judge concluded that Respondent, by acting on its concern through picket line and related activities, demonstrated that it exists in part for the purpose of dealing with employers over employee labor relations matters.

The difficulty we find with the Administrative Law Judge's reasoning is that it equates support for what is considered to be a social cause with the desire to represent the individuals in the furtherance of their cause. Many present day labor disputes are viewed by some as problems which extend beyond the confines of the plant involved and have an impact on the community at large or, in some instances, on the Nation itself. In such circumstances, it is not unusual for social activist groups, newspapers, and clergy to actively support the employees' cause and to seek to marshal public opinion in support of it. It would also be uncommon if, among those who belong to such organizations, there were not some individuals who would meet the definition of employees under our Act. But are we then to conclude that any organization which engages in strike-supporting activities exists, at least in part, for the purpose of dealing with employers over employee labor relations matters? We believe that such a conclusion would be ridiculous on its face. Support for a cause, no matter how active it may become, does not rise to the level of representation unless it can be demonstrated that the organization in question is expressly or implicitly seeking to deal with the employer over matters affecting the employees.

Here, the evidence clearly indicates that Respondent in no way exists for the purpose of dealing with employers over employee problems. While individual members of the parent CULA have on occasion assisted employees by joining with them in forming committees which have dealt with employers over employee problems, we cannot hold that- the parent CULA or Respondent is bound by the individual action of its members? The only representation of employees by CULA has been before various state agencies and commissions which in our judgment has no bearing on CULA or Respondent 's status as a 2 No formal membership is required in CULA or its branches.

219 NLRB No. 158 labor organization within the meaning of our Act.

Accordingly, on the basis of the evidence before us, we conclude that the parent CULA and Respondent do not exist, either in whole or in part, for the purpose of dealing with employers concerning employee labor relations matters.' ORDER

Pursuant to Section 10(c) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, the National Labor Relations Board adopts as its Order the recommended Order of the Administrative Law Judge and hereby orders that the complaint be, and it hereby is, dismissed in its entirety.

MEMBER KENNEDY, dissenting:

The majority dismisses the complaint in this case on the grounds that Respondent's Center for United Labor Action (CULA) at Rochester is not a labor organization within the meaning of Section 2(5) of the Act. That conclusion, in my view, is directly contrary to the conclusion of law required by the facts found by the Administrative Law Judge . Accordingly, I dissent. I would find that Respondent CULA has violated and is continuing to violate Section 8(bx4)(i) and (ii)(B) of the Act.

No issue has been raised as to the scope or the object of Respondent CULA's picketing underlying the charge filed in this case. Rather, the contested issue in this case concerns the character of Respondent's institutional activities and whether those activities bring it within Section 2(5) of the Act.

Without attempting to regurgitate the entire factual findings of the Administrative Law Judge, I will set forth briefly those facts which are material to that part of Section 2(5) of the Act which defines as a labor organization any organization which , inter alia, exists for the purpose 'in part' of dealing with employers concerning certain enumerated matters.

Until February 1974 the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America was engaged in a labor dispute with Farah Mfg., Inc., pursuant to which the Amalgamated Clothing Workers embarked upon a nationwide boycott campaign. Respondent CULA in concert with the ACWA embarked upon a campaign to persuade the public not to do business with certain establishments dealing in Farah's products. Accordingly, at various times it picketed Charging Party Sibley's Rochester, New York, store with signs urging customers to boycott the Charging Party, and CULA further distributed leaflets and literature in 3 Our dissenting colleague, arguing that CULA acted 'in concert with ACWA,' overlooks the parties' agreement to sever the agency question from this case and eliminate all reference to ACWA from the complaint.

the Rochester area to accomplish the same purpose.

The signs carried by the pickets bore the nomenclature 'CULA.' Respondent CULA is one of several branches of the Center for United Labor Action which has its central headquarters in New York City. It is a loosely organized entity run by a self-appointed chairman and committee. CULA has described itself (and its branches, including Respondent) in its publications in the following manner:

The Center for United Labor Action is an association of working men and women devoted to the improvement of working conditions and the advancement of all workers of all races and nationalities in the struggle against the U.S. corporations. It helps to organize the unorganized and aims to make existing labor organizations more effective.

The principal slogan used by Respondent CULA is:

If you haven't got a union-fight to get one! If you have one-fight to make it fight! One of Respondent's pamphlets states:

We believe that every worker should have a union, which provides the basic organization he or she needs to fight for a fair deal . But we also stand for the revival of militant unionism which fights not only for higher wages, but also for equal treatment for women and racial minorities.

Accordingly, Respondent and the central CULA support union strikes by joining the picketing and leafleting of employers and raising funds for strikers.

Deborah Lain, chairwoman of Rochester CULA, testified that Respondent's normal activities include joining picket lines to assist any union to gain recognition or picketing in behalf of employees who have been discharged. In this regard, the record shows that CULA picketed and boycotted Korvettes in New York City in support of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers dispute with Farah and assisted striking seafood workers from Virginia in picketing a Campbell Soup plant in New Jersey. CULA has also represented discharged employees before the State Unemployment Compensation Commission in opposition to the employer's position and has represented employee interests before local governmental agencies concerned with industrial safety in employer's operations. As Respondent states in one of its...

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