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NLRB V. J. H. RUTTER-REX MFG. CO., INC., 396 U. S. 258 (1969)

U.S. Supreme Court

NLRB v. J. H. Rutter-Rex Mfg. Co., Inc., 396 U.S. 258 (1969)

National Labor Relations Board v.

J. H. Rutter-Rex Manufacturing Co., Inc.

No. 32

Argued October 22, 1969

Decided December 15, 1969

396 U.S. 258


Respondent company's employees went on strike in April, 1954. The union filed charges against the company, including a charge for refusal to bargain, and while these charges were pending, terminated the strike in April, 1955, and applied for reinstatement of many of the strikers. Not all these employees were reinstated. In February, 1956, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that the company had been guilty of an unlawful refusal to bargain and ordered it to offer reinstatement to all strikers who applied and to "make such applicants whole for any loss of pay by reason of the . . . refusal, if any, to reinstate them." The Court of Appeals entered a decree in August, 1957, enforcing the order. The NLRB regional office then notified the company that the case would remain open until the company had fully complied with the decree. In November, 1957, the company wrote the regional office that it had complied with "some of the provisions of the decree" and requested that "any instance of a failure to comply" be brought to its attention. In March, 1960, an NLRB compliance officer requested payroll and other records to determine the employment and back-pay rights of employees. In November, 1961, a back-pay specification was filed and the company applied to the Court of Appeals for a permanent stay, alleging that the NLRB had delayed improperly in issuing the specification. The Court of Appeals denied the stay, although noting that the delay was regrettable. After a lengthy hearing, the NLRB, in June, 1966, ordered back pay, which, for cases where no company offer was made, would accrue through the last quarter of 1961, when the specification was filed. On review, the Court of Appeals found that the NLRB had been guilty of "inordinate" delay prejudicing the company, and modified the order to eliminate back pay accruing after July, 1959.

Held: While the delay in the administrative process is deplorable, the Court of Appeals

Page 396 U. S. 259

here exceeded the narrow scope of review provided for the NLRB' remedial orders when it shifted the cost of the delay from the company to the employees. Pp. 396 U. S. 262-266.

399 F.2d 356, reversed.

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