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National Labor Relations Board v. Washington Aluminum Co.

United States Supreme Court
370 U.S. 9 (1962)


Washington Aluminum Company (WAC) (defendant) was in the business of fabricating aluminum products. WAC had eight employees working in its machine shop and was governed by the labor regulations of the National Labor Relations Act (Act), 29 U.S.C. §§ 151-169. The machine shop was poorly insulated, and the shop’s sole source of heat was an oil furnace in an adjacent building. The employees complained several times about the insufficient heating in the machine shop, but WAC did not resolve the issue. On January 5, 1959, the weather was unusually cold. After a discussion, seven of the employees decided to walk out because of the temperature in the machine shop. The president of WAC discharged the employees who had walked out for leaving without authorization. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (plaintiff) found that the employees had engaged in a concerted activity protected by section 7 of the Act. Accordingly, the NLRB ordered WAC to reinstate the discharged employees. The court of appeals reversed on the ground that the employees left work without first making a demand upon WAC and giving WAC an opportunity to grant a concession. The NLRB appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

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