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Caribe Construction Co. v. Penn

March 26, 1965

CARIBE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., APPELLEE
v.
EDMUND L. PENN, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER FOR LABOR, APPELLANT. VIRGIN ISLANDS LABOR UNION, APPELLANT-INTERVENOR.



Author: Maris

Before MARIS, McLAUGHLIN, and FREEDMAN, Circuit Judges.

MARIS, C.J.: This appeal from a judgment of the District Court of the Virgin Islands involves the validity of a certification by the defendant, Edmund L. Penn, Deputy Commissioner for Labor of the Department of Agriculture and Labor of the Government of the Virgin Islands, that the Virgin Islands Labor Union, S.I.U., AFL-CIO, had been selected by a majority of the employees of the plaintiff, Caribe Construction Company, Inc., as their collective bargaining representative.

It appears that the Union on November 14, 1961 filed with the Department of Agriculture and Labor a petition for certification as the bargaining representative of a unit of 27 employees of the Company. The petition was accompanied by written authorizations, signed by 23 of the employees, in the following form:

"I, the undersigned, hereby authorize the Virgin Islands Labor Union, S.I.U., AFL-CIO, to be my exclusive collective bargaining agency in all matters pertaining to pay rates, hours of work, conditions of employment and to negotiate and execute a contract in my behalf, and hereby file my application for membership in said union.

"This authorization suspends and revokes any other authorization previously given."

On November 22, 1961 the Deputy Commissioner requested Roger F. Moran, the president of the Company, to appear on November 27, 1961 for an informal conference in regard to the petition. The conference was held and was attended by Moran and by Roy Gottlieb, executive director of the Union. At the conference Moran presented written statements, signed by 29 of the Company's employees, including the 23 individuals referred to above, in the following form, with individual variations in 7 instances:

"To Whom It May Concern:

I am an employee of Caribe Construction Company, Inc.

I have not asked that the Virgin Islands Labor Union be the bargaining representative between myself and my employer.

I have no grievance with nor complaint against Caribe Construction Company. I am satisfied with my working conditions, my wages and the opportunity for advancing myself as an employee of Caribe.

I DID NOT READ THE UNION PETITION I SIGNED.

November 24, 1961."

At the hearing in the district court Moran testified that these statements had been prepared by him and read by him to each of the Company's employees and that all had signed them.

Faced with these conflicting sets of statements the Deputy Commissioner decided to make a personal investigation. He himself interviewed 19 (all he could locate) of the 23 employees who had signed the Union authorization papers. At ...


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