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BULLARD CO. v. NLRB

April 5, 1966

Bullard Company, Plaintiff,
v.
National Labor Relations Board, et al., Defendants


Gasch, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GASCH

This cause came on for hearing on plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction and defendants' motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment. It appears that the facts are essentially as follows:

 The Bullard Company is a Connecticut corporation engaged in the manufacturing of machine parts. On October 29, 1965, pursuant to a petition filed by the International Molders & Allied Workers Union (hereinafter called the Union), the National Labor Relations Board conducted a representation election. Out of 248 eligible voters, 234 ballots were cast; 119 against the Union, 109 were for the Union, and 6 ballots were challenged. On November 3, 1965, the Union filed objections to this election with the Regional Director. The objections stated:

 
"(a) He [the Board Agent] carried ballots in his pocket. These ballots had been previously folded and many of the voters received these folded ballots from the pocket of the Board Agent.
 
"(b) One voter, Walter G. Wright, received a folded ballot, which the Board Agent had taken from his pocket, and upon unfolding it in the polling booth noticed that a mark had previously been placed in the 'No' box. Not understanding how Board elections are conducted, Wright, nevertheless, placed the ballot in the ballot box. When he returned to his work station and told his fellow workers of the incident, they advised that he return to the polls. Wright did so, and was given another ballot by the Board Agent which Wright voted as a challenged ballot.
 
"(c) The Board Agent went out to lunch with Company representatives and officials.
 
"(d) The Board Agent constantly protested when observers of petitioner sought to challenge ballots.
 
"(e) The Board Agent, during the conduct of the election, constantly wandered off from the polling place and on numerous occasions had to be called back in order to proceed.
 
"(f) After the election, the Board Agent took from his brief case what appeared to be crumpled ballots."

 The Regional Director recommended that the Union's objections be overruled. He found that the carrying of ballots in the Board Agent's pocket was a reasonable security device. He found that the allegation of Walter G. Wright was unsupported and even if it were, it had no effect on the election as a whole. He found nothing improper concerning the Board Agent's having lunch in that portion of the cafeteria usually reserved for management. He found that the Board Agent in no way attempted to dissuade the Union's observers from exercising their right to challenge ballots. He found that the Board Agent was never out of sight of the polling booth. Finally, he found that the ballots appearing in the Board Agent's briefcase were merely duplicates and that the Board Agent kept them in his briefcase for safekeeping. The Regional Director concluded that there was no merit in the Union's contentions and that the election should not be set aside. Whereupon, the Union filed a timely appeal to the Board and on February 25, 1966, a three-member panel of the Board (one member dissenting), made the following finding:

 
"The objections relate to alleged irregularities by the Board agent conducting the election. Although, as the Regional Director concluded, the Board agent did not in fact engage in any irregularities, there is a possibility that some of his conduct may erroneously have given such an appearance. The mere appearance of irregularity in a Board agent's conduct of an election departs from the standards the Board seeks to maintain in assuring the integrity and secrecy of its elections and constitutes a basis for setting aside the election.
 
"In the circumstances of this case, we hereby sustain the objections.
 
"Accordingly, we shall set aside the election and direct that a second election be held."

 Plaintiff seeks to enjoin the second election, and seeks to compel certification of the October 29 election. Plaintiff relies primarily on § 9 of the Act, 29 U.S.C. ...


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