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NLRB v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation U. S. Supreme Court 1937.

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Presentation on theme: "NLRB v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation U. S. Supreme Court 1937."— Presentation transcript:

1 NLRB v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation U. S. Supreme Court 1937

2 What is the Issue in Jones and Laughlin? Is the National Labor Relations Act Constitutional? Does the federal government have the constitutional authority to establish a scheme for the regulation of labor relations among the employees of a private company when those employees do not move across state lines in the course of their employment?

3 With what illegal actions was J&L charged?

4 What were J & L’s responses to the charge?

5 What was the disposition of the case at the Board and Court of Appeals levels?

6 Jones and Laughlin Quote e.pl?court=us&vol=301&invol=1http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcas e.pl?court=us&vol=301&invol=1

7 7 Issue Is the National Labor Relations Act Constitutional? Yes! –Congress did not exceed authority under commerce clause –Size and scope of J&L’s activities means that its labor relations problems would affect interstate commerce –Board will determine effect on interstate commerce

8 What was Jones and Laughlin’s behavior before the Board? “(Jones and Laughlin)then moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and, on denial of that motion, respondent in accordance with its special appearance withdrew from further participation in the hearing.” Why do you think J & L behaved this way?

9 What was the Supreme Court’s Response to J & L’s argument that it had the right to conduct its business in an orderly manner free from arbitrary restraints?

10 Does the NLRA prevent the employer from discharging employees?

11 Was the NLRA one-sided? Did it favor unions over employers?

12 How did the Court respond to J & L’s argument that the NLRA should be declared unconstitutional because it denied it due process?

13 13 Other Issues Right to Self-Organization a Fundamental Right Er may still exercise its legitimate rights to select and discharge employees, but may not discriminate on basis of exercise of Sec. 7 rights One-sidedness of Act does not make it unconstitutional - Congress need not address all evils at once Procedures are fair - –complaint –notice –hearing –evidence –court review

14 Summary Represented a broadening of the powers of the federal government to regulate all economic activity. Balancing of Rights of Employer with Rights of Employees.

15 Dissent in Jones & Laughlin “The Court... departs from well-established principles.... Upon the authority of those decisions, the Circuit Courts of Appeals of the Fifth, Sixth and Second Circuits in the causes now before us have held the power of Congress under the commerce clause does not extend to relations between employers and their employees engaged in manufacture.... The three respondents happen to be manufacturing concerns-one large, two relatively small. The act is now applied to each upon grounds common to all. Obviously what is determined as to these concerns may gravely affect a multitude of employers who engage in a great variety of private enterprises-mercantile, manufacturing, publishing, stock-raising, mining, etc. It puts into the hands of a Board power of control over purely local industry beyond anything heretofore deemed permissible.” (301 U.S , 78)

16 16 Reconsideration: Return to “ Flow Concept?” “The Congress shall have Power... To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes... (U.S. Constitution)” Originalism – interpretations of constitution should be based on what the authors of the constitution meant when they wrote it Textualism – interpretations of the constitution should be based on the text, nothing more

17 17 Compare Hughes (1937) and Thomas (1995): “To regulate Commerce... among the several States....” “Because there may be but indirect and remote effects upon interstate commerce in connection with a host of local enterprises throughout the country, it does not follow that other industrial activities do not have such a close and intimate relation to interstate commerce as to make the presence of industrial strife a matter of the most urgent national concern. When industries organize themselves on a national scale, making their relation to interstate commerce the dominant factor in their activities, how can it be maintained that their industrial labor relations constitute a forbidden field into which Congress may not enter when it is necessary to protect interstate commerce from the paralyzing consequences of industrial war? We have often said that interstate commerce itself is a practical conception. It is equally true that interferences with that commerce must be appraised by a judgment that does not ignore actual experience.” (CJ Hughes for Majority, NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin, 301 U.S. 1, 41-42, 1937) “At the time the original Constitution was ratified, "commerce" consisted of selling, buying, and bartering, as well as transporting for these purposes..... As one would expect, the term "commerce" was used in contradistinction to productive activities such as manufacturing and agriculture.... Moreover, interjecting a modern sense of commerce into the Constitution generates significant textual and structural problems. For example, one cannot replace "commerce" with a different type of enterprise, such as manufacturing..... Parts may come from different States or other nations and hence may have been in the flow of commerce at one time, but manufacturing takes place at a discrete site. Agriculture and manufacturing involve the production of goods; commerce encompasses traffic in such articles (U.S. v. Lopez, U.S. Supreme Court, 1995, No , Justice Thomas dissent, all citations omitted)

18 Canadian Labor Law Based on the Flow Concept Most labor relations regulation in Canada under jurisdiction of the provinces. All industries that do not directly move goods and services between the provinces are regulated by the provinces for labor relations purposes. – Auto manufacturing - provinces – Telecommunications - federal government British North American Act of 1867

19 Conservative or Liberal? “It is gravely stated that experience teaches that if an employer discourages membership in ‘any organization of any kind’ ‘in which employees participate, and which exists for the purpose in whole or in part of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment or conditions of work,’ discontent may follow and this in turn may lead to a strike, and as the outcome of the strike there may be a block in the stream of interstate commerce. Therefore Congress may inhibit the discharge! Whatever effect any cause of discontent may ultimately have upon commerce is far too indirect to justify congressional regulation. Almost anything-marriage, birth, death-may in some fashion affect commerce.” (National Labor Relations Board v. Friedman-Harry Marks Clothing Co., 85 F.2d 1 2 nd Cir., 1936) Defense of Marriage Act, 1996 –No State,... shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State... respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State... territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship. ` –... the word `marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.’


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