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Center Construction Co. v. NLRB

482 F.3d 425 (2007)

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Center Construction Co. v. NLRB

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

482 F.3d 425 (2007)

Facts

Center Construction Company (plaintiff) was a heating and air-conditioning company that employed two plumbers. Center Construction’s plumbers were organized by Local 370 (the union), a plumbers’ union, and asked Center Construction to recognize the union. Robert Eagleson, the president and owner of Center Construction, did not recognize the union. The plumbers claimed that Eagleson said that he would go out of business before he recognized the union. Eagleson, however, claimed that he told the plumbers that he would need to see the union’s collective-bargaining agreement before deciding whether to recognize the union. After a series of disputes, the union filed several claims of unfair labor practices against Center Construction. Among these were: (1) a conversation in which Eagleson allegedly threatened to fire a few sheet-metal employees if the plumbers’ union was recognized, (2) Center Construction’s refusal to hire plumbers who were members of the union, (3) Eagleson’s questioning of employees about their opinions of unions, and (4) Eagleson’s firing of one of the plumbers who attempted to unionize. An administrative-law judge (ALJ) found that Center Construction had committed all of the alleged unfair labor practices. Center Construction appealed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB upheld all the ALJ’s findings except one. The NLRB determined that Center Construction did not commit an unfair labor practice when Eagleson told the sheet-metal employees that he would have to fire a few of them if the union was recognized. The NLRB accepted Eagleson’s explanation that his comment was a prediction based on the union’s collective-bargaining agreement and not a threat as the ALJ had interpreted it. The union appealed, requesting a review of the NLRB’s order.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gibson, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Rogers, J.)

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