Case brief

Case brief



Case:NLRB V. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp

Facts:Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp fired some employees who attempted tojoin labor unions. NLRB sued Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp afterrefusing to honor a previous order requiring the company to stopharassing employees. The company held that the NLRA wasunconstitutional. This is because it called for expansiveapplication of Congress commerce power.

Issue:Can the Labor Relations Act that forms NLRB be used to settleintrastate labor issues for companies with interstate operations?

Holding:The Supreme Court decided that labor issues affecting Jones andLaughlin Steel Corp’s employees could be resolved by the NationalLabor Relations Act, and other federal mechanisms since some of thecompany’s products are sold outside the state of Pennsylvania.

Ruleof law:The Congress and other mechanisms developed by the federal governmentcan be used to regulate labor issues affecting a company thatoperates within a given state as long as its activities have asubstantial and a close relationship with interstate commerce.

Reasoning:Commerce that was being contemplated in the case was interstate whenconsidered in the constitutional sense. This is because acts thatdirectly obstruct or put a burden on interstate commerce, or affectits flow are within the powers of the Congress. The authority of theCongress to safeguard interstate commerce cannot be limited toactivities that are deemed to be a critical part of interstatecommerce. Although some activities are intrastate in character, theCongress cannot be prevented from regulating those activities as longas they have some substantial effect on interstate commerce.Therefore, the federal bodies and the Congress cannot be preventedfrom carrying out its mandate of protecting interstate commerce fromobstruction and other forms of burden even if these obstructionsresult from intrastate activities.

Opinion:The court’s decision sets a precedence that will be applied to allcompanies with intrastate operations, but their activities have someinfluence in other states. Therefore, the Congress and its decisionswill protect the interests of employees irrespective of the scale ofcompany operations as long as those impacts of those operations canbe felt in the interstate commerce.