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National Labor Relations Board v. Paper Manufacturers Co.

March 18, 1986

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, PETITIONER AND GRAPHIC COMMUNICATIONS INTERNAL UNION LOCAL 14, AFL-CIO, INTERVENOR
v.
PAPER MANUFACTURERS COMPANY, WAREHOUSE EMPLOYEES LOCAL 169, A/W INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN, AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT (NLRB NOS. 4-CA-13616, 4-CB-4613)



ON APPLICATION FOR ENFORCEMENT OF AN ORDER OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD.

Author: Gibbons

Before: SEITZ and GIBBONS, Circuit Judges and BARRY, District Judge*fn*

Opinion OF THE COURT

GIBBONS, Circuit Judge :

The National Labor Relations Board petitions pursuant to section 10(e) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. ยง 160(e) (1982), to enforce its order finding that the paper Manufacturers Company, the employer, committed an unfair labor practice in refusing to recognize and bargain with Graphic Communications International Union Local 14, AFL-CIO (Local 14). The Board found that the employer had unlawfully recognized and bargained with another union, Warehouse Employees Local 169 a/w International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America (Local 169), and that this action constituted unfair labor practices by both the employer and Local 169. See Paper Manufacturers Co., No. 4-CA-13616 and No. 4-CB-4613 (March 14, 1984) (opinion by A. Pacht, A.L.J.), aff'd as modified, 274 N.L.R.B. No. 70 (1985). The employer and Local 169 contend that the Board erred (1) in refusing to defer to an arbitrator's decision, and (2) in making a bargaining unit determination. We enforce.

I.

Background Facts

The employer manufacturers products for the communication, office, telecommunications, disposable medical devices industries. It has facilities in several states. Two of its major divisions are the Medical Packaging Division and the Paper Products Division. The employer's Philadelphia plant currently houses a part of the Paper products Division as well as the Medical packaging Division. In 1979 the employer's Philadelphia plant began to coat a product called tyvek. After coating, the product was used in the packaging of medical supplies. The employer initially shipped the coated tyvek product from the Philadelphia plant to various converters that processed it into pouches and other finished packaging products.

In 1971 the production and maintenance employers at the Philadelphia plant selected Local 169 as their bargaining representative. Thus the Paper Products Division employees and the employees coating tyvek were in the same bargaining unit.

Some time prior to 1976 the employer purchased LF&P, a corporation located in Peabody, Massachusetts. LF&P had been engaged in the business of converting coated tyvek into finished packaging products. Consequently, the purchase of LF&P integrated the employer into the business of converting coated tyvek into finished products. In 1978 the employer moved the pouching and printing equipment for converting tyvek from Peabody to a leased facility in Southampton, Pennsylvania, seven miles from its Philadelphia plant. Coated tyvek was thereafter transported from Philadelphia to Southampton instead of Peabody.

The employer maintained different shifts and separate seniority lists at the Philadelphia and Southampton sites. Southampton employees were paid lower wages for comparable work and received fewer benefits than did the Philadelphia employees. Each plant had a separate job classification system. The employees used different plant managers and first-line supervisors at the Southampton and Philadelphia facilities.

By January of 1982 the employer had available space in the Philadelphia plant because it had transferred the Business Products Unit of its Paper Products Division to its plant in Indianapolis, Indiana. On January 26, 1982 the employer decided that it would relocate the Southampton unit, which it referred to as its Medical Packaging Division, to the vacant space in Philadelphia. The employer had in late 1981 given several managers authority to run the operations at both the Philadelphia and Southampton facilities.

In April 1982, before the relocation of the Southampton facility took place, Local 14 asked the employer for recognition as the bargaining representative of the Southampton Medical Packaging Division employees. The employer declined to extend recognition, and Local 14 filed a representation petition. On June 10, 1982 the Board's Regional Director in the Philadelphia office determined that the Southampton Medical Packaging Division was an appropriate unit and directed that an election be held. The employer did not contest the unit determination, but asked the Regional Director to reconsider in light of the decision that the Medical packaging Division would be moved to Philadelphia.

The Regional Director refused to reconsider, finding no evidence that the proposed relocation would affect the composition of the unit. On July 8, 1982 a Board-supervised election was held at Southampton, in which, by a vote of twenty-six to seventeen, Local 14 was chosen as the bargaining representative. Formal certification of Local 14 ...


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