National Labor Relations Board v. Bell Aerospace Co.
United States Supreme Court
416 U.S. 267 (1974)
Bell Aerospace Co. (Bell) (plaintiff) employed buyers to supply its factories. Bell’s buyers wished to unionize but could not, because buyers were considered managerial employees by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (defendant). The NLRB had prohibited managerial employees from unionizing, deeming those employees too entwined with management to come within the protections of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In an NLRB adjudication arising from agitation to unionize by the buyers at Bell, the NLRB determined that (1) the NLRA allowed the unionization of managerial employees except for those whose participation in a union would create a conflict of interest with their work responsibilities and (2) buyers were not necessarily managerial employees, and indeed Bell’s buyers were not managerial employees. The NLRB therefore allowed Bell’s buyers to unionize. Bell petitioned for review of the NLRB’s bargaining order, and the NLRB cross-petitioned for enforcement of the order. The Second Circuit denied enforcement, concluding that (1) Congress intended to exclude all managerial employees from the NLRA’s protections, not just those for whom the protection would create a conflict of interest, and (2) the NLRB could not change its long-standing policy of classifying buyers as managerial employees via adjudication and instead needed to use notice-and-comment rulemaking. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning ()
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