Amalgamated Utility Workers v. Consolidated Edison Co

In Amalgamated Utility Workers v. Consolidated Edison Co., 309 U.S. 261, 60 S.Ct. 561, 84 L.Ed. 738 (1940), the Supreme Court held that the charging party had no right to institute contempt proceedings in the Court of Appeals to compel compliance with a decree enforcing a Board order on the ground that the Board has been given exclusive enforcement rights under the National Labor Relations Act. It said: "It is apparent that Congress has entrusted to the Board exclusively the prosecution of the proceeding by its own complaint, the conduct of the hearing, the adjudication and the granting of appropriate relief. The Board as a public agency acting in the public interest, not any private person or group, not any employee or group of employees, is chosen as the instrument to assure protection from the described unfair conduct in order to remove obstructions to interstate commerce." In Amalgamated Utility Workers v. Consolidated Edison Co., 309 U.S. 261, 264, 60 S.Ct. 561, 563, 84 L.Ed. 738 (1940), Mr. Chief Justice Hughes pointed out that it is the Board and the Board alone which has power to issue its complaint against the person charged with the unfair labor practice. But in the next sentence he says, "If complaint is issued, there must be a hearing before the Board or a member thereof or its agent." This statement if taken alone and literally would settle the question in our case in favor of the petitioner. It is doubtful whether the Court's language, however, was meant thus to be applied to quite a different situation, although the Chief Justice, on the next page of the report, does emphasize that the opportunity given to a person aggrieved is "an opportunity afforded to contest a final order of the Board, not to enforce it."