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U.S. Supreme Court

Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Co. v. Labor Board, 303 U.S. 453 (1938)

Santa Cruz Fruit Packing Co. v. National Labor Relations Board

No. 536

Argued March 7, 1938

Decided March 28, 1938

303 U.S. 453


1. A corporation was engaged, in California, in the business of canning fruits and vegetables, raised in the State, and in disposing of its large output locally and in interstate and foreign commerce, 37% going to destinations beyond the State, partly on f.o.b. shipment and much of it by water. The goods shipped by boat were carried to the wharves on trucks loaded at the plant by warehousemen employed there. Many of these, upon being locked out by the company for having joined a labor union, formed a picket line, and this was so maintained that eventually the movement of trucks from warehouse to wharves ceased entirely. The teamsters refused to haul, the warehousemen at the dock warehouses declined to handle, and the stevedores between dock and ship refused to load, the company's goods. The National Labor Relations Board found that the discharge of the employees and the refusal to reinstate them constituted an unlawful discrimination under the National Labor Relations Act, and that the acts of the company tended to lead, and had led, to labor disputes burdening and obstructing interstate commerce. It ordered the company to desist from such practices, to reinstate, with back pay, the discharged employees, and to post notices, etc. Held that the case was within the jurisdiction of the Board, and that the order was properly sustained by the Circuit Court of Appeals. Pp. 303 U. S. 463 et seq. chanrobles.com-red

Page 303 U. S. 454

2. Sales to purchasers in another State are not withdrawn from federal control because the goods are delivered f.o.b. at stated points within the origin for transportation. P. 303 U. S. 463.

3. The federal power to protect interstate commerce in commodities does not depend upon their kind, and has been applied to the practices of manufacturers, processors, and labor unions. Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U. S. 238, did not establish a different principle, or overrule the earlier decisions. P. 303 U. S. 466.

4. The power of Congress to protect interstate commerce in manufactured articles from burdens and obstructions springing from labor disputes in the factory is not dependent upon an origin outside of the the raw materials used in the manufacturing process, nor is the place where the manufacturer makes his sales a controlling element if the sales in fact are in interstate commerce. Labor Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U. S. 1. P. 303 U. S. 464.

5. Cases respecting the state power to tax goods which have not begun to move in interstate commerce, or have come to rest within the State, or to adopt local police measures affecting them, do not deal with the extent of the power of Congress over interstate commerce, but are concerned with the question whether a particular exercise of state power, in view of its nature and operation, must be deemed to be in conflict with that paramount authority. P. 303 U. S. 466.

6. Where federal control is sought to be exercised over activities which, separately considered, are intrastate, it must appear that there is a close and substantial relation to interstate commerce in order to justify the federal intervention for its protection. P. 303 U. S. 466.

7. This principle is essential to the maintenance of our constitutional system. Id.

8. In maintaining the balance of the constitutional grants and limitations, it is inevitable that we should define their applications in the gradual process of inclusion and exclusion. And what is reasonably clear in a particular application is not to be overborne by the simple and familiar dialectic of suggesting doubtful and extreme cases. P. 303 U. S. 467.

9. The question whether the labor practices of an employer are practices "affecting commerce," as defined by § 2(6) of the National Labor Relations Act, cannot be answered by mere reference to the percentage of the product sold in interstate and foreign commerce. The question that must be faced under the Act upon particular facts is whether the unfair labor practices involved have such a chanrobles.com-red

Page 303 U. S. 455

close and substantial relation to the freedom of interstate commerce from injurious restraint that these practices may constitutionally be made the subject of federal cognizance through provisions looking to the peaceable adjustment of labor disputes. P. 303 U. S. 467.

91 F.2d 790 affirmed.

Certiorari, 302 U.S. 680, to review the affirmance of a judgment affirming in part an order of the National Labor Relations Board. chanrobles.com-red

Page 303 U. S. 460


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