Public Control of Labor Relations: A Study of the National Labor Relations Board

By D. O. Bowman | Go to book overview

Chapter XIV. COMPLAINT CASES (Continued)

A. The Hearing

The place of the hearing is always the Board's offices or other Government locations within the immediate locality where the violations are alleged to have occurred. This is to preserve the appearance of impartiality and at the same time not inconvenience the parties to the proceedings. In same instances, the Board has exercised its right under the Rules and Regulations to transfer a hearing from one region to another.

The hearing itself is in most respects very similar to a purely judicial trial. Indeed, it is often spoken of by various members of the Board's personnel as a trial proceeding, and the Board's attorney usually "prepares the case for trial." The attorney for the Board is not, according to the instructions he receives, supposed to view himself as a "prosecuting attorney," but rather he is to envisage his task to be the development of the facts in such fashion that when placed in the record they will constitute "a complete and legally impregnable record that will pass the scrutiny of the court."1 While the Board had some experience with overzealous attorneys who believed their sole task was to win the case, at least before the trial examiner, it has not tolerated other than an orderly presentation of evidence by its own attorneys. The Board insists that its trial attorneys must carefully prepare their cases and be familiar with all evidence, even that which may disprove the Board's case.2 The close attention to detail and the objective of establishing facts do not, despite the Board's warning, erase all the traces of the "prosecuting attorney" from the Board's trial attorney. Clearly, he is attempting to perform for the body politic a function similar to that performed by the prosecuting attor

____________________
1
Monograph No. 18, p. 30.
2
The attorney cooperates with counsel for the complainant prior to, and during, the trial.

-253-

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