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NLRB Trivia


Question: Name the Board Member who had previously been a U.S. Senator.

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Abe Murdock (Board Member from 1947-57) was a U.S. Senator from Utah.

Question: Who was the first African-American regional director?

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Ivan C. McLeod. 1958-1972 McLeod joined the Chicago Regional Office in 1948 and later transferred to the Div. of Operations. He retired in 1972 and became a labor arbitrator in New York. He died in 1979.

Question: Which NLRB Chair was previously a state supreme court justice?

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Boyd Leedom, Chief Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court. When his term as Chairman expired in 1965, he became an Administrative Law Judge, where he served until his death in 1969.

Question: Who was the only General Counsel who served two full 4-year terms?

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Arnold Ordman was General Counsel from 1963-71. He was a career NLRB attorney who, prior to his appointment by President Kennedy, served in the Appellate Court Branch and as Chief Counsel to Chairman McCullough. When his second term ended, he returned to the career service as an ALJ from which position he retired in 1971 to become an arbitrator. He died in 1989.

Question: What is the significance of April 12, 1937, in NLRB history?

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Constitutionality Day: Date of Supreme Court decision in NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel.

Question: Who were Elinore Herrick, Alice Rosseter, and Dorothea de Schweinatz?

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Herrick (Region 2) and Rosseter (Region 20) were the first two women Regional Directors and two of the Agency's Directors. Herrick had previously been Chair of the New York City Board to administer Sec. 7(A) of the NRA. After leaving the Board in 1941 she became Personnel Director of Todd Shipyards and later worked for the New York Herald Tribune as Director of Labor Relations. (No info re Rosseter.) De Schweinatz was the third woman to be appointed as an Regional Director. She was appointed the second year of the Wagner Act as second Regional Director in St. Louis. She succeeded Leonard Bajork in 1937 to become the second Director in Chicago. She served until 1940, at which time she left St. Louis and went to work in Washington for the Labor Supply Branch of the Office of Production Mgt. She later worked as an Industrial Relations Specialist with the Wage Stabilization Board. She was a graduate of Smith College (1912) and received that college's Medal in 1974. She lived in Washington, D.C. from 1941 until her death in 1980.

Question: Has anyone ever served as General Counsel and as Chairman of the NLRB?

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Not quite, but almost. John C. (Jack) Miller was Acting General Counsel and Chairman. Miller was a career government employee who, in addition to holding these positions, was also a Board Staff Counsel, an Administrative Law Judge, the Board's Solicitor, and the Chief Counsel to Chairman John Van de Water. He also worked for the House Labor and Education Committee. In 1975 Pres. Ford named Miller as Acting General Counsel after Peter G. Nash's term expired. He served from August to November 1995. He was Chief Counsel to Chairman Van de Water from August 1981 to December 1982 and, when Van de Water left, President Reagan gave Miller a recess appointment as Board Member and designated him Chairman of the NLRB, as which he served from December 1982 to March 1983. Thereafter, he was appointed as General Counsel of the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

Question: What former U.S. Senator and Vice President of the United States applied to work for the Board and was rejected?

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Hubert H. Humphrey.

Question: On what NLRB Regional Office does the sun first shine each day?

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Region 20, San Francisco. The Honolulu Sub-regional office, part of region 20, has jurisdiction extending well across the International Date Line and as far west as the Northern Marianna Islands.

Question: Who was the first African-American Board Member?

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Howard Jenkins, Jr., who was Assistant Solicitor of Labor when he was first appointed to the Board by President Kennedy in 1963. He was reappointed to successive terms by Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Carter. He left the Board in 1983 and died at the age of 87 in 2003.

Question: Which former Board employee went on to become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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William E. Colby was employed as an attorney in the Appellate Court Branch in 1949. He left the Board in 1950 to join the CIA. Colby was CIA Director from 1973-76. He was not the only NLRB connection with the intelligence community. During WW II Gerhard Van Arkel, who later became the last Wagner Act GC and George O. Pratt, a former NLRB Chief Trial Examiner (ALJ) (1937-41), served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor of the CIA. They were responsible for recruiting trade unionists who had fled from Hitler. Pratt also headed the Division of Intelligence Procurement - the part of the OSS responsible for sending agents behind enemy lines. Both were referenced in The secret War Against Hitler by former CIA Director William Casey. Pratt also served as the Regional Director for Region 17, Kansas.

Question: Five different Presidents nominated this man as a Member of the NLRB. Who is he?

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John Fanning (Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Carter). He was designated as Chairman by President Carter in 1977 and continued until 1981. He retired from federal service at the expiration of his fifth term in 1982 and entered the practice of law. He died in 1990.

Question: Who was Chester Lehman?

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Chester Lehman was an employee of Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines who was discharged for union activity on July 30, 1935. His discharge was litigated and is reported at 1 NLRB 1. While the case involved other issues and other discriminatees, Lehman's discharge was the first discriminatory discharge found and reported in the Board volumes under the Wagner Act. See Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, 1 NLRB 1, 27 (1935).

Question: Who was specifically targeted for removal from his job by a provision of the Taft-Hartley Act?

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The last sentence of Sec. 4 reads: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the Board to appoint individuals for the purpose of conciliation or mediation or for economic analysis." (emphasis added) This provision was inserted into the Act in 1947. The "economic Analysis" provision was a reaffirmation of a budget restriction placed on the Board in 1940. That restriction was designed to remove David J. Saposs from his position as head of the Board's Division of Economic Research. Mr. Saposs was believed by some in Congress to be a left wing radical, even a Communist. The fact is that he was an avowed anti-Communist. However, his reputation made him a target of the Smith Committee during its hearings on the Board in 1939-40. When the recommendations of the Smith Committee were codified into the Taft- Hartley Act in 1947, the "economic analysis" restriction was included. By that time, Saposs had long since left the Board as a result of the 1940 budget restrictions on "economic analyses."

Question: In 1979, the General Counsel of the Board was held in civil and criminal contempt by a Federal District Court. Who was he, and what happened?

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John Irving. Irving refused to honor a subpoena served on the Agency by defendants in a criminal case. The defendants were charged with conspiracy and obstruction of an administrative proceeding and served a subpoena on a regional director seeking the authorization cards submitted as a showing of interest in an "R" case. Irving took possession of the cards from the region, appeared before the court in response to the subpoena, and refused to turn the cards over on grounds of confidentiality. He was held in civil and criminal contempt for his continued refusal to provide the cards. On appeal the finding of civil contempt was affirmed, and the criminal finding reversed. Later the District Judge purged the civil contempt finding against Irving. The authorization cards were turned over under very strict privacy guidelines set down by the court of appeals. See In Re Irving. U.S. v. DiLapi, 600 F.2d 1027 (2d Cir. 1979). Irving practices labor law in Washington, D.C.

Question: Who was the first woman appointed Member of the NLRB?

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Betty Southard Murphy was appointed to the Board by President Ford in 1975 and then designated Chairman, as which she served until 1977. Prior to her appointment, she had been a Wage Hour Administrator and before that was in the private practice of law representing both labor and management. She began her legal career as an attorney with the Board in the Appellate Court Branch. Murphy returned to private practice after leaving the Board. She was later appointed by President Reagan to serve on the Bicentennial Commission on the Constitution of the United States. Murphy now practices labor law in Washington.

Question: How many original Regions were there?

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21.

Question: Who was Beatrice Stern?

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Stern was the Board's first Executive Secretary. She was a 1918 graduate of the University of California and was employed by the Bureau of the Budget before joining the NLRB. She was Deputy Secretary of the Board in the 1930s and, when the position of Secretary of the Board was abolished in 1941, it was replaced by the position of Executive Secretary. She was later employed to write histories of the United Parcel Service and of the Bank of America. Stern died in San Francisco in 1988 at the age of 92.

Question: Who was the former NLRB General Counsel who later became the Director-General of the United Nations' International Labor Organization (ILO)?

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David A. Morse. Morse was an NLRB General Counsel during the Wagner Act. He was General Counsel from 1945 to 1946 and prior to that time he had held a number of positions in the Government, including Regional Attorney of Region 2 of the NLRB. He was a Lieutenant Colonel In the Army during WWII. When he left the Board in 1946, President Truman appointed him as Assistant Secretary of Labor. He later became Undersecretary and Acting Secretary in 1948. Morse was Director-General of the ILO form 1948 to 1970. In 1969 he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the ILO for the work of that organization during his leadership. The term of ILO Director is a nonrenewable 10-year period, and the ILO changed its policy in order to re-elect Morse to a second term. Morse was a partner of the firm Surrey & Morse in New York (since merged with Jones Day) and practiced law until his death in 1990.

Question: Have Regional Directors always had the authority to issue Decisions and Directions of Election (D&D)? What is the source of that authority?

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No. Prior to 1959 the Act did not permit Directors to issue a D&D. They were decided by the Board itself. The 1959 amendments (Sec. 3(b)) authorized the Board to delegate that authority to Regional Directors. On May 15, 1961, the Board made that delegation. Sec. 26 F.R. 3911, page 199 of Rules and Regs. The effect of delegation has been dramatic. In 1958, when the Board made all the decision s itself, the time to process was 82 median days. By 1981 the time dropped to just half of that, or 41median days. Today the figure is 34 days.

Question: What were the laws involved, and what were the case-handling procedures for WW II?

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Under the War Labor Disputes Act of 1943, the Board was required to conduct secret strike ballots in situations in which employees were considering a strike. The employees voted on the following question: "Do you wish to permit an interruption of war production in wartime as a result of the dispute?'" In each of the fiscal years that these ballots were conducted, a substantial majority of the units voted to strike; in 1944, 323 of the 381 units; in 1945, 482 of 573; and in 1946 (6 months), 1045 of 1214. Board Annual Reports for this period suggest that these votes were designated more to influence the action of government or to object to the action of a government agency than to actually obtain authorization to strike. The board duty to conduct these votes was discontinued as a result of an appropriation rider in 1946. Sources: Ninth Annual Report, p. 72; Tenth Annual Report, p. 68. See also Allis- Chalmers Mfg., 52 NLRB 100 (1943).

Question: What were the laws involved, and what were the case-handling procedures respecting Communism?

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The Taft-Hartley Amendments of 12947 required that unions make certain filings in order to be able to use the Board's procedures. Specifically, Section 9(f) provided that unions file with the Secretary of Labor detailed reports on their structure, finances, and conditions of membership and that they furnish copies of financial data to their members. Section 9(g) required that union officials file with the Board non-Communist affidavits, and Section 9(h) prohibited processing "R" cases that were filed by non-complying unions. Compliance with Section 9(g) required affidavits from officials of labor organizations using the Board's proceedings and from the officers of any international with which they were affiliated. Section 9(h) did not prohibit the investigation of "C" cases, but it did prohibit issuing complaint. Sections 9(f),(g), and (h) were repealed as part of the Landrum-Griffin Amendments of 1959.

Question: What were the laws involved, and what were the case-handling procedures regarding the Union Shop?

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The Taft-Hartley Amendments of 1947 permitted union shop agreements only in circumstances in which unit employees actually voted to give the union authority to negotiate such an agreement. This vote was conducted by the Board, and, when a union filed a petition for such an election it was docketed as a "UA" case. The union shop referendum was contained in Section 9(e), and the proviso to Section 8(a)(3) permitted union shops only where there had been such a vote. In 1951 Congress repealed the union shop referendum requirements leaving unaffected the union shop de-authorization procedures (UD) that exist today. During the 4 years of these UA cases, the union won 97.1% of the elections. Historians have suggested that this win rate was influential in the repeal of this provision. Source: Sixteenth Annual Report, pp. 53-54 and 136-37.

Question: Since the creation of the independent office of the General Counsel in 1947, has any General Counsel been removed from office?

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The first Taft-Hartley General Counsel, Robert N. Denham (1947-50), resigned his position after being called to the White House and told by an assistant to President Truman that the President wanted Denham to leave and would discharge him if he did not resign. Denham later characterized the action when he told the Chicago Daily News that he was "fired." The cause was a running dispute between Denham and the Board about the authority of the General Counsel to file briefs in the courts of appeals which differed from the positions of the Board. The dispute culminated in a case called Vulcan Forge Co., in which the Board and the General Counsel each filed briefs in the Sixth Circuit. Denham and the Board also disagreed about the jurisdiction of the Agency. The jurisdiction issue arose when the Board decided to limit its jurisdiction by setting standards at levels higher than what the statute permits. The General Counsel believed that he had a duty to prosecute cases even in situations which did not meet the Board's new standards. Denham's actions prompted the five-member Board to write to President Truman on September 15, 1950, to request his assistance in resolving the dispute. President Truman responded by forcing Denham's departure.

Question: What is an "RE" case?

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"RE" was the code assigned to "R" cases filed by employers during the Wagner Act. The Wagner Act had no provision for employer-filed petitions, and prior to 1939 the Board did not permit such elections. There was a great deal of controversy over the inability of employers to file a petition and at one point President Roosevelt met with Chairman Madden and asked him to get the Board to change its rules to permit employers to file petitions. Roosevelt thought such a change would aid in the then-reelection campaign of Senator Wagner. Madden declined, but the Board later changed the rules in 1939 to permit such petitions. The right, however, was more limited than are the rights of an employer today because, under the 1939 rules, the employer could only file a petition when there were conflicting demands from two or more unions. Up until 1939 the only letter code in a case number was "R" or "C". As a result of this new type of case, the Board adopted the symbol "RE" for the cases filed by employers; the "E" standing for employer.

Question: If the "E" in "RE" stood for "employer" and "C" in "RC" indicates that a case is a petition seeking certification and the "D" in "RD" indicates a petition seeking decertification, what does the "M" in "RM" stand for?

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It comes from the initial sound in the pronunciation of the word "Employer." Section 9)(c)(1)(B) of the 1947 Taft-Hartley amendments codified the right of the employer to file petitions. The right of an employer to file a petition under the Wagner Act (an RE case) was more restrictive than Sec. 9(c)(1)(B). So, when developing the case codes needed for the new kinds of cases generated by the Taft-Hartley Act, the Agency felt that, because of these different standards, the code "RE" should be discontinued, and a new code developed which would clearly indicate that a case was filed under Sec. 9(c)(1)(B). When the question was raised as to what the new code should be, then Board attorney Morris Weisz jokingly said: "Why RM, of course; the M is for employer." The suggestion was adopted.

Question: Each of the persons or places below is a "first" in NLRB history. Name the "first"

      
a. A. Howard Myers.

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First Regional Director of the First Region
      
b. J. Warren Madden

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First Board Chairman
      
c. Herbert Fuchs

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First Board Solicitor
      
d. Charles Fahy

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First General Counsel
      
e. Wayne Knitting Mills, Fort Wayne, Indiana

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First Board election. The employer in that location was a firehouse in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
      
f. Winston-Salem, N.C.

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First Sub-Regional Office. It was created on February 15, 1946, the same day as Indianapolis, but Winston-Salem gets first place because it was numbered 34, and Indianapolis number 35. Interestingly, other Sub-Regions created after Winston- Salem were given lower numbers.
      
g. John S. Irving, Jr.

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First Deputy General Counsel. The position was created in 1972.
      
h. Rosemary Collyer

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First woman General Counsel.

Question: In 1948 shortly after enactment of the Taft-Hartley amendments to the National Labor Relations Act the Board established five Resident Offices in a 2-month span in the Southeastern part of the United States. Can you name them?

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Birmingham, Alabama; Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; and Tampa, Florida. Birmingham remains a Resident Office, and Tampa is a Regional Office. Chattanooga, Columbia, and Knoxville were disestablished in June 1952.

Identify the following significant dates in NLRB history:

      
a. July 5.

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President Roosevelt signed the Wagner Act on July 5, 1935.
      
b. April 12.

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The date of the Supreme Court decision in NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel. This date is not as obscure as it may seem. For many years after April 12, 1937, Agency employees marked April 12 as "Constitutionality Day" and celebrated with a party. Legend has it that they thought the decision would go the other way, and were celebrating their continued employment.
      
c. August 27.

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The anniversary of the appointment of the original three Wagner Act Board Members. To this day, three of the Members have an August 28 expiration date for their terms.
      
d. December 16.

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This is the appointment date of the Board Members serving in two seats created by Taft-Hartley in 1947. The two appointments were Abe Murdock and J. Copeland Gray. They initially took office under recess appointments on August 1, 1947, and were confirmed on December 16 of that year. Most recently, former Member Kirsanow's term ended on December 16.