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National Labor Relations Board v. Erie Resistor Corp.
United States Supreme Court
373 U.S. 221 (1963)
During a strike, Erie Resistor Corp. (defendant) promised replacement workers and strikers who returned to work superseniority. Specifically, the company agreed to add 20 years to each employee’s actual service for future layoff and recall purposes. Many strikers returned to work for that reason. But after the strike, the company laid off reinstated strikers who did not have superseniority, leaving the workforce about half its original size. The union filed charges claiming the superseniority plan and layoffs violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The company countered that keeping its plant open out of business necessity motivated its actions, not antiunion discrimination. But the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (plaintiff) found the company violated the act even without specific discriminatory intent, reasoning that a preferential seniority plan necessarily violates federal labor laws regardless of its intended purpose. The appellate court reversed, finding a seniority policy adopted solely to continue operations not necessarily illegal, and remanded for the NLRB to make further findings, but the Supreme Court granted review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
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