353 U.S. 448 (1957), 211, Textile Workers Union of America v. Lincoln Mills of Ala.

Docket Nº:Nos. 211, 262 and 276.
Citation:353 U.S. 448, 77 S.Ct. 923, 1 L.Ed.2d 972
Case Date:June 03, 1957
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 448

353 U.S. 448 (1957)

77 S.Ct. 923, 1 L.Ed.2d 972




GOODALL-SANFORD, Inc., Petitioner,


UNITED TEXTILE WORKERS of AMERICA, A.F.L. LOCAL 1802, and United Textile Workers of America, A.F.L.




Nos. 211, 262 and 276.

United States Supreme Court.

June 3, 1957

Dissenting opinion.

For opinions of the Court see 353 U.S. 448, 547, 550, 77 S.Ct. 912, 920, 921.

Page 460

[77 S.Ct. 923] Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER (dissenting).

The Court has avoided the difficult problems raised by s 301 of the Taft-Hartley Act, 61 Stat. 156, 29 U.S.C. s 185, 29 U.S.C.A.

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s 185,1 by attributing to the section an occult content. This plainly procedural section is transmuted into a mandate to the federal courts to fashion a whole body of substantive federal law appropriate for the complicated and touchy problems raised by collective bargaining. I have set forth in my opinion in Association of Westinghouse Salaried Employees v. Westinghouse Electric Corp. the detailed reasons why I believe that s 301 cannot be so construed, even if constitutional questions

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cannot be avoided. 348 U.S. 437, 441--449, 452--459, 75 S.Ct. 489, 490--494, 496--500, 99 L.Ed. 510. But the Court has a 'clear' and contrary conclusion emerge from the 'somewhat,' to say the least, 'cloudy and confusing legislative history.' This is more than can be fairly asked even from the alchemy of construction. Since the Court relies on a few isolated statements in the legislative history which do not support its conclusion, however favoringly read, I have deemed in necessary to set forth in an appendix the entire relevant [77 S.Ct. 924] legislative history of the Taft-Hartley Act and its predecessor, the Case Bill. This legislative history reinforces the natural meaning of the statute as an exclusively procedural provision, affording, that is, an accessible federal forum for suits on agreements between labor organizations and employers, but not enacting federal law for such suits. See also Wollett and Wllington, Federalism and Breach of the Labor Agreement, 7 Stan.L.Rev. 445.

I have also set forth in my opinion in the Westinghouse case an outline of the vast problems that the Court's present decision creates by bringing into conflict state law and federal law, state courts and federal courts. 348 U.S. at pages 454--455, 75 S.Ct. at pages 497--498; see also Judge Wyzanski's opinion in Textile Workers Union of America (C.I.O.) v. American Thread Co., D.C., 113 F.Supp. 137, 140. These problems are not rendered non-existent by disregard of them. It should also be noted that whatever may be a union's ad hoc benefit in a particular case, the meaning of collective bargaining for labor does not remotely derive from reliance on the sanction of litigation in the courts. Restrictions made by legislation like the Clayton Act of 1914, 38 Stat. 738, ss 20, 22, 29 U.S.C.A. s 52, 18 U.S.C.A. s 402, and the Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932, 47 Stat. 70, 29 U.S.C.A. s 101 et seq., upon the use of familiar remedies theretofore available in the federal courts, reflected deep fears of the labor movement of the use of such remedies against labor. But a union, like any other combatant engaged in a particular fight, is ready to make an ally of an old enemy,

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and so we also find unions resorting to the otherwise much excoriated labor injunction. Such intermittent yielding to expediency does not change the fact that judicial intervention is ill-suited to the special characteristics of the arbitration process in labor disputes; nor are the conditions for its effective functioning thereby altered.

'The arbitration is an integral part of the system of self-government. And the system is designed to aid management in its quest for efficiency, to assist union leadership in its participation in the enterprise, and to secure justice for the employees. it is a means of making collective bargaining work and thus preserving private enterprise in a free government. When it works fairly well, it does not need the sanction of the law of contracts or the law of arbitration. It is only when the system breaks down completely that the courts' aid in these respects is invoked. But the courts cannot, by occasional sporadic decision, restore the parties' continuing relationship; and their intervention in such cases may seriously affect the going systems of self-government. When their autonomous system breaks down, might not the parties better be left to the usual methods for adjustment of labor disputes rather than to court actions on the contract or on the arbitration award?' Shulman, Reason, Contract, and Law in Labor Relations, 68 Harv.L.Rev. 999, 1024.

These reflections summarized the vast and extraordinarily successful experience of Dean Harry Shulman as labor arbitrator, especially as umpire under the collective-bargaining contract between the Ford Motor Co. and the UAW--CIO. (See his Opinions of the Umpire, Ford Motor Co. and UAW--CIO, 1943--1946, and the review by E. Merrick Dodd in 60 Harv.L.Rev. 486.) Arbitration agreements are for specific terms, generally much shorter than the time required for adjudication of a contested

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lawsuit through the available stages of trial and appeal. Renegotiation of agreements cannot await the outcome of such litigation; nor can the parties' continuing relation await it. Cases under s 301 will probably present unusual rather than representative situations. A 'rule' derived [77 S.Ct. 925] from them is more likely to discombobulate than to compose. A 'uniform corpus' cannot be expected to evolve, certainly not within a time to serve its assumed function.

The prickly and extensive problems that the supposed grant would create further counsel against a finding that the grant was made. They present hazardous opportunities for friction in the regulation of contracts between employers and unions. They involve the division of power between State and Nation, between state courts and federal courts, including the effective functioning of this Court. Wisdom suggests self-restraint in undertaking to solve these problems unless the Court is clearly directed to do so. Section 301 is not such a direction. The legislative history contains no suggestion that these problems were considered; the terms of the section do not present them.

One word more remains to be said. The earliest declaration of unconstitutionality of an act of Congress--by the Justices on circuit--involved a refusal by the Justices to perform a function imposed upon them by Congress because of the non-judicial nature of that function. Hayburn's Case, 2 Dall. 409, 1 L.Ed. 436. Since then, the Court has many times declared legislation unconstitutional because it imposed on the Court powers or functions that were regarded as outside the scope of the 'judicial power' lodged in the Court by the Constitution. See, e.g., Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 2 L.Ed. 60; United States v. Ferreira, 13 How. 40, 14 L.Ed. 42; Muskrat v. United States, 219 U.S. 346, 31 S.Ct. 250, 55 L.Ed. 246; Keller v. Potomac Electric Power Co., 261 U.S. 428, 43 S.Ct. 445, 67 L.Ed. 731.

One may fairly generalize from these instances that the Court has deemed itself peculiarly qualified, with due

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regard to the contrary judgment of Congress, to determine what is meet and fit for the exercise of 'judicial power' as authorized by the Constitution. Solicitude and respect for the confines of 'judicial power,' and the difficult problem of marking those confines, apply equally in construing precisely what duties Congress has cast upon the federal courts, especially when, as in this case, the most that can be said in support of finding a congressional desire to impose these 'legislative' duties on the federal courts is that Congress did not mention the problem in the statute and that, insofar as purpose may be gathered from congressional reports and debates, they leave us in the dark.

The Court, however, sees no problem of 'judicial power' in casting upon the federal courts, with no guides except 'judicial inventiveness,' the task of applying a whole industrial code that is as yet in the bosom of the jidiciary. There are severe limits on 'judicial inventiveness' even for the most imaginative judges. The law is not a 'brooding omnipresence in the sky,' (Mr. Justice Holmes, dissenting, in Southern Pacific Co. v. Jensen, 244 U.S. 205, 222, 37 S.Ct. 524, 531, 61 L.Ed. 1086), and it cannot be drawn from there like nitrogen from the air. These problems created by the Court's interpretation of s 301 cannot 'be solved by resort to the established canons of construction that enable a court to look through awkward or clumsy expression, or language wanting in precision, to the intent of the legislature. For the vice of the statute here lies in the impossibility of ascertaining, by any reasonable test, that the legislature meant one thing rather than another * * *.' Connally v. General Construction Co., 269 U.S. 385, 394, 46 S.Ct. 126, 128, 70 L.Ed. 322. But the Court makes s 301 a mountain instead of a molehill and, by giving an example of 'judicial inventiveness,' it thereby solves all the constitutional problems that would otherwise have to be faced.

Even on the Court's attribution to s 301 of a direction to the federal courts to fashion, out of bits and pieces

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elsewhere to be gathered, a federal common [77 S.Ct. 926] law of labor contracts, it still does not follow that Congress has enacted that an agreement to arbitrate industrial differences be specifically enforceable in the federal courts. On the contrary, the...

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