• U.S.

LABOR: Back & Forward

1 minute read

The U. S. Supreme Court this week handed the National Labor Relations Board its first serious setback in litigation, at the same time broadened its already vast powers over U. S. industry. In Consolidated Edison Co. of N. Y. v. NLRB, the Court ruled:

1) That NLRB, lacking sufficient evidence, illegally voided contracts between Consolidated and A. F. of L.’s big International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

2) That NLRB has authority over the utility and (by inference) over any other company which operates in only one State but affects essential services in other States.

An important point for other employers was that NLRB, suspecting connivance to defeat Consolidated workers’ preference for C. I. O., had forbidden the company to deal with A. F. of L.’s unions. In finding that Consolidated should deal with both A. F. of L. and C. I. O. for their respective members, the Court presumably left intact the principle that NLRB may void contracts when collusion is sufficiently proved. But Justices Reed and Black took pains to dissent, say the Board did retain this power—thus implying that the majority might think it did not.

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