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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Holly Farms Corp.
National Labor Relations Board
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Department of Justice, argued the cause for the respondents)
Facts of the Case 

Holly Farms Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., is a vertically integrated poultry producer. In 1989, the Chauffeurs, Teamsters and Helpers, Local 391, filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board, seeking an election in a proposed unit that included live- haul employees working out of Holly Farms' Wilkesboro processing plant. The unit included workers described as "live-haul" crews, or teams of chicken catchers, forklift operators, and truckdrivers, who collect for slaughter chickens raised as broilers by independent contract growers, and transport the birds to the processing plant. Classifying the live-haul workers as employees protected by the National Labor Relations Act, rather than agricultural laborers excluded from the Act's coverage, the Board approved the bargaining unit. On petition for review, the Court of Appeals enforced the Board's order, holding that the Board's classification rested on a reasonable interpretation of the Act and was consistent with the Board's prior decisions.


Did the National Labor Relations Board correctly classify chicken catchers as employees, and not as exempt agricultural workers, for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act?

Decision: 5 votes for National Labor Relations Board, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: National Labor Relations, as amended

Yes. In a 5-4 opinion delivered by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court held that the NLRB's determination that the producer's live-haul workers were covered employees rather than exempt agricultural laborers, was a reasonable interpretation to which a reviewing court properly deferred. The Court was also split 5-4 in upholding the Board's classification for forklift operators who work in the chicken industry. In a 9-0 vote, the Court upheld the Board's classification for the live-haul crew's truck drivers.

Cite this Page
HOLLY FARMS CORP. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_95_210>.
HOLLY FARMS CORP. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_95_210 (last visited August 26, 2015).
"HOLLY FARMS CORP. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_95_210.