COFFIN, Chief Judge.
This case, before us on the Board's petition for enforcement of its order, requires us to decide whether the record supports the Board's conclusion that Local 601 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union had attained an untainted card majority and whether the bargaining order issued was proper.
The Union called a meeting of former employees of a defunct unionized business in order to distribute severance benefits. Seven of those present were employed by respondent when the meeting was held on February 26, 1975. At that time respondent was not unionized, but was a target of a unionization campaign. After distributing the checks a Union business agent explained the delay in getting the checks and told those present that their benefits as Union members would cease except that they would continue to be covered by the Union's medical plan for six months. This last statement was untrue, and in fact those present then employed by respondent were no longer covered by the Union plan.
According to testimony accepted by both the administrative law judge (the ALJ) and the Board, after the business agent's speech, those present "became very happy, they were very happy for having received the benefits and then one of them asked [the business agent] what could be done so that they would receive some benefits from the Matouk factory because the owners of Matouk factory were bad people and that
All seven of respondent's employees who were present signed authorization cards before leaving the meeting. Ten more of respondent's 24 or 25 workers
In April of 1975 respondent's general manager, Julio Ortiz, gave a special raise to several employees. He asked two of them, who had been at the February 26 meeting, whether they were working to get the Union into the factory. They both said no, and he told them he did not want a union in the plant. On July 14, the Union delivered a letter to Ortiz demanding recognition as the exclusive bargaining representative of respondent's employees based on an asserted authorization card majority. The ALJ found the following:
On July 16 the Union sent Ortiz a second letter protesting his behavior on July 14 and again demanding recognition. The next day, not having closed the plant or gone to New York, Ortiz called another meeting. He apologized for his July 14 conduct and then, again quoting the ALJ:
The ALJ found that activities at the February 26 meeting had tainted the Union's card majority. Therefore, he did not find an unlawful refusal to bargain, § 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(5), or issue a bargaining order, but he found that respondent had violated § 8(a)(1) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1), "[b]y interrogating employees about their union activities; by threatening employees with plant closure, more onerous working conditions, and the withholding of future benefits if they engaged in union activities; by creating the impression it had employees' union activities under surveillance; and by soliciting employees go [sic] give up their right to have a union represent them and assisting them in their efforts to that end." The ALJ issued an order aimed at correcting these § 8(a)(1) violations. The Board reversed the ALJ's finding that the majority was tainted, issued a bargaining order, and affirmed the ALJ's decision with respect to the § 8(a)(1) violations and corrective order.
The Board's findings of fact are conclusive if we find substantial evidence on the record as a whole to support them. 29 U.S.C. § 160(e); NLRB v. South Shore Hospital, 571 F.2d 677, 682 (1st Cir. 1978). The situation is complicated where, as here, the Board disagrees with the ALJ as to conclusions to be drawn from facts. We have explained the deference accorded the Board's findings, in part, by pointing to the ALJ's opportunity to hear and see the witnesses as well as the Board's special expertise in the field of labor relations. Id.; Trustees of Boston University v. NLRB, 548 F.2d 391, 393 (1st Cir. 1977). But it is the Board to which the statute commits the ultimate responsibility of resolving labor disputes, 29 U.S.C. § 160(c), and this responsibility "is wholly inconsistent with the notion that [the Board] has power to reverse an examiner's findings only when they are `clearly erroneous'." Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 492, 71 S.Ct. 456, 467, 95 L.Ed. 456 (1951). See Sign and Pictorial Union v. NLRB, 136 U.S.App.D.C. 144, 152, 419 F.2d 726, 734 (1969).
The ALJ's findings are part of the whole record and must be given such weight "as in reason and in the light of judicial experience they deserve . . . [E]vidence supporting a conclusion may be less substantial when an impartial, experienced examiner who has observed the witnesses and lived with the case had drawn conclusions different from the Board's . . . ." Universal Camera Corp., supra, 340 U.S. at 496, 71 S.Ct. at 469. It follows that we should give more careful scrutiny to Board orders where the Board has exercised its authority to draw different inferences from those drawn by the ALJ. Jervis Corp., Bolivar Division v. NLRB, 387 F.2d 107, 113 (6th Cir. 1967). On the other hand, the significance of the disagreement is diminished when it is confined to drawing different inferences or legal conclusions as opposed to questions of fact or credibility. Laborer's District Council of Georgia and South Carolina v. NLRB, 163 U.S.App.D.C. 308, 313 n. 16, 501 F.2d 868, 873 n. 16 (1974); NLRB v. Lenkurt Electric Co., 438 F.2d 1102, 1105 n. 3 (9th Cir. 1971); Hawkins v. NLRB, 358 F.2d 281, 284 (7th Cir. 1966). In such cases the Board's special understanding is at least as important an aid in interpreting the facts as is the ALJ's immersion in the case.
Here the essential point of disagreement is the importance of the role that the business agent's erroneous statement about union health benefits played in prompting respondent's employees to ask how they could get the Union into their factory. The ALJ concluded:
This is a possible interpretation of the facts, and had the Board agreed, we could find it based on substantial evidence. But the Board did not agree:
In this statement of reasons the Board explains the source of its disagreement with the ALJ.
We must next decide whether, given that the Union did have an untainted card
These findings are responsive to the factors mentioned by the Court in Gissel, 395 U.S. at 613-614, 89 S.Ct. 1918, and, assuming the findings are accurate, they are sufficient to support issuance of the order.
On these facts, the characterization of respondent's unlawful conduct as "substantial, pervasive, and extensive" is supported by substantial evidence. Further, the Board could properly conclude that once having threatened plant closure, and having solicited and provided legal assistance for repudiation of individual's representation cards, respondent had destroyed the possibility of a fair election. The actual conduct of respondent's general manager could well overshadow any subsequent statements by respondent that its employees should feel free to vote according to their choice in an election. Accordingly we will order enforcement of the Board's order.
We share with other circuits, however, concern that the Board, in issuing bargaining orders, which are extreme remedies, is doing so without adequately explaining its reasons or performing the kind of analysis necessary to permit a court of appeals to perform its statutory review obligations. See, e.g., NLRB v. Armcor Industries, Inc., 535 F.2d 239, 244 (3d Cir. 1976); Peerless of America, Inc. v. NLRB, 484 F.2d 1108, 1118-19 & n. 16 (7th Cir. 1973). We recognize that not enough is known to guarantee that predictions of employee behavior will always be accurate. See NLRB v. Kaiser Agriculture Chemicals, 473 F.2d 374, 383 & n. 10 (5th Cir. 1973). We also recognize that "[i]t is for the Board and not the courts [to determine whether traditional remedies are sufficient], based on its expert estimate as to the effects on the election process of unfair labor practices of varying intensity. In fashioning its remedies . . . the Board draws on a fund of knowledge and expertise all its own, and its choice of remedy must therefore be given special respect by reviewing courts. `[I]t is usually better to minimize the opportunity for reviewing courts to substitute their discretion for that of the agency.'" NLRB v. Gissel, supra, 395 U.S. at 612 n. 32, 89 S.Ct. at 1939 n. 32 (citations omitted); see Trustees of Boston University v. NLRB, supra, 548 F.2d at 394. Notwithstanding our keen awareness of such ordinary constraints, where the Board fails to support its conclusions with reasoning that we can evaluate, we may feel obliged to remand to the Board for further proceedings. See NLRB v. Armcor Industries, Inc., (3d Cir.
The order of the Board is enforced.