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U.S. Supreme Court

NLRB v. Food Store Employees Union, 417 U.S. 1 (1974)

National Labor Relations Board v. Food Store Employees Union,

Local 347, Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen

of North America, AFL-CIO

No. 73-370

Argued March 119, 1974

Decided May 20, 1974

417 U.S. 1


After finding that Heck's Inc. had engaged in pervasive unfair labor practices, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a cease and desist order against it, but rejected the argument of respondent union, the charging party, for additional remedies, including reimbursement of litigation expenses and excess organizational costs incurred as a result of Heck's illegal conduct. The Court of Appeals enforced the NLRB's order but remanded the case to the NLRB for further consideration of additional remedies. The NLRB again refused to order reimbursement of litigation expenses and excess organizational costs, reasoning that its "orders must be remedial, not punitive, and collateral losses are not considered in framing a reimbursement order," and that the Board, not the charging party, is entrusted with primary responsibility to protect the public interest. The Court of Appeals enforced the NLRB's amended order but, concluding that the NLRB chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 417 U. S. 2

had meanwhile in Tiidee Products, Inc., 194 N.L.R.B. 1234, changed its policy, enlarged the NLRB's order by requiring Heck's to "[p]ay to the Union any extraordinary organizational cost which the Union incurred by reason of Heck's policy of resisting organizational efforts and refusing to bargain" and to "[p]ay to the Board and the Union the costs and expenses incurred by them" in connection with the litigation. Sections 10(e) and (f) of the National Labor Relations Act authorize courts of appeals to "make and enter a decree . . . modifying and enforcing as so modified" an NLRB order.

Held: The Court of Appeals, although properly refusing to resolve inconsistencies in the Board's decisions in this case and in Tiidee by accepting Board counsel's rationalizations, erroneously exercised its authority under §§ 10(e) and (f), since it was "incompatible with the orderly function of the process of judicial review" (NLRB v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 380 U. S. 438, 380 U. S. 444) for that court to enlarge the Heck's order without first affording the NLRB an opportunity to evaluate this case in the light of the policy enunciated in Tiidee and to decide whether that policy should be applied retroactively. Pp. 417 U. S. 8-11.

155 U.S.App.D.C. 101, 476 F.2d 546, reversed and remanded.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

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