417 U.S. 12 (1974), 73-466, William E. Arnold Co. v. Carpenters District

Docket Nº:No. 73-466
Citation:417 U.S. 12, 94 S.Ct. 2069, 40 L.Ed.2d 620
Party Name:William E. Arnold Co. v. Carpenters District
Case Date:May 20, 1974
Court:United States Supreme Court

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417 U.S. 12 (1974)

94 S.Ct. 2069, 40 L.Ed.2d 620

William E. Arnold Co.

v.

Carpenters District

No. 73-466

United States Supreme Court

May 20, 1974

Council of Jacksonville and Vicinity

Argued March 20, 1974

CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA

Syllabus

When respondent unions called a jurisdictional dispute strike against petitioner employer, petitioner brought this suit, which is within the purview of § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, in a Florida trial court to enjoin respondents' breach of a no-strike clause in the collective bargaining agreement containing a binding settlement procedure. That court issued a temporary restraining order against the strike, and its action was upheld by an intermediate appellate court. The Florida Supreme Court reversed, holding that, since the unions' breach was also arguably an unfair labor practice under § 8(b)(4)(i)(D) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) involving jurisdictional disputes, the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was exclusive.

Held:

1. When the activity in question is arguably both an unfair labor practice prohibited by § 8 of the NLRA and a breach of a collective bargaining agreement, the NLRB's authority "is not exclusive, and does not destroy the jurisdiction of the courts in suits under § 301." Smith v. Evening News Assn., 371 U.S. 195, 197. Pp. 15-18.

(a) The preemption doctrine of San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, is "not relevant" to actions within the purview of § 301, which may be brought in either state or federal courts. P. 16.

(b) NLRB policy is to refrain from exercising jurisdiction as to conduct which is arguably both an unfair labor practice and a contract violation when, as here, the parties have voluntarily established by contract a binding settlement procedure. P. 16.

(c) When the particular contract violations also involve an arguable violation of § 8(b)(4)(i)(D), the NLRB has recognized added policy justifications for deferring to the contractual dispute settlement mechanism, as indicated by § 10(k) of the NLRA, which, by its special procedure for NLRB resolution of charges

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involving jurisdictional disputes "not only tolerates, but actually encourages," settlements of such disputes. Pp. 17-18.

2. State court jurisdiction over collective bargaining disputes does not turn upon the particular type of relief sought, and therefore is not limited to claims for damages, rather than injunctive relief. Pp. 18-20.

279 So.2d 300, reversed and remanded.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

BRENNAN, J., lead opinion

[94 S.Ct. 2071] MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Florida Supreme Court held that the Florida District Court of Appeal erred in refusing to issue a writ of prohibition to restrain the Circuit Court for Duval County from exercising its jurisdiction over a suit within the purview of § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA).1 The suit sought to enjoin respondent unions' breach of a no-strike clause contained in a

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collective bargaining agreement, which breach arguably is also an unfair labor practice under the Act. The State Supreme Court stated:

It is unquestionable that state courts do have jurisdiction to enforce a collective bargaining agreement and to enjoin a strike in violation of a "no-strike" clause contained therein, but not when the strike is also arguably a unfair labor practice prohibited by federal law.

279 So.2d 300, 302 (1973). We granted certiorari to decide whether the holding of the Florida Supreme Court was consistent with decisions of this Court, including Teamsters Local v. Lucas Flour Co., 369 U.S. 95 (1962), and Smith v. Evening News Assn., 371 U.S. 195 (1962). 414 U.S. 1063 (1973). We reverse.

Article VI of a collective bargaining agreement between petitioner, William E. Arnold Co., and respondents, Carpenters District Council of Jacksonville and Vicinity and its affiliate, Local 627 (Carpenters), provides:

There shall be no work stoppage, slowdown, work cessation or strike because of a Jurisdictional Dispute. A mutually agreeable settlement, or joint decision of the International Unions involved, or decision or interpretation of the National Joint Board for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes (or Hearing Panel) shall be binding and all parties agree to accept such decision or interpretation.

In 1971, during the construction of the Jacksonville General Hospital, one of Arnold's subcontractors assigned work claimed by the Carpenters to the Wood, Wire and Metal Lathers International Union, AFL-CIO, Local 59. The Carpenters struck Arnold to force reassignment of the work to their members. Arnold thereupon brought this suit in the Circuit Court of Duval County to enjoin the Carpenters from violating the provisions of

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Art. VI and obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the strike. The Carpenters then sought a writ of prohibition from a Florida District Court of Appeal, contending that the Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction to order injunctive relief because the alleged breach of the no-strike clause was also arguably an unfair labor practice under § 8(b)(4)(i)(D) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), 29 U.S.C. § 158(b)(4)(i)(D),2 and therefore fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National [94 S.Ct. 2072] Labor Relations Board (Board). The District Court of Appeal denied the writ of prohibition and, as previously mentioned, the Supreme Court of Florida reversed.

When an activity is either arguably protected by § 7 or arguably prohibited by § 8 of the NLRA, the preemption doctrine developed in San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236 (1959), and its progeny, teaches that, ordinarily,

the States as well as the federal courts must defer to the exclusive competence

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of the National Labor Relations Board if the danger of state interference with national policy is to be averted.

Id. at 245. When, however, the activity in question also constitutes a breach of a collective bargaining agreement, the Board's authority "is not exclusive, and does not destroy the jurisdiction of the courts in suits under § 301." Smith v. Evening News Assn., 371 U.S. at 197. This exception was explicitly reaffirmed in Motor Coach Employees v. Lockridge, 403 U.S. 274, 297-298 (1971). It was fashioned because the history of § 301 reveals that "Congress deliberately chose to leave the enforcement of collective agreements 'to the usual processes of the law,'" Dowd Box Co. v. Courtney, 368 U.S. 502, 513 (1962). Thus, we have said that the Garmon doctrine...

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