Armco Steel Corp. v. United Mine Workers of America

Decision Date08 November 1974
Docket NumberNos. 74-1323 and 74-1324,s. 74-1323 and 74-1324
Citation505 F.2d 1129
Parties87 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2974, 75 Lab.Cas. P 10,418, 1974-2 Trade Cases 75,334 ARMCO STEEL CORPORATION, a corporation, et al., Appellants, v. UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA et al., Appellees. UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, Appellant, v. UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA et al., Appellees.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

David D. Johnson, Charleston, W. Va. (Jackson, Kelly, Holt & O'Farrell, Forrest H. Roles and Spilman, Thomas, Battle & Klostermeyer and R. Page Henley, Jr., Charleston, W. Va., on brief), for appellants in No. 74-1323.

Leonard L. Scheinholtz, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, Pittsburgh, Pa., Charles M. Love and Campbell, Love, Woodroe & Kizer, Charleston, W. Va., on brief), for appellant in No. 74-1324.

Joseph A. Yablonski, Washington, D.C. (Lewis D. Sargentigh, James M. Haviland, Pittsburgh, Pa., Steven B. Jacobson, Washington, D.C., Bruce C. Boyens, Leo Catsonis and Catsonis & Linkous, Charleston, W. Va., on brief), for appellees in Nos. 74-1323 and 74-1324.

Before HAYNSWORTH, Chief Judge, and RUSSELL and WIDENER, Circuit judges.

DONALD RUSSELL, Circuit Judge:

Protesting certain state and federal regulations on the allocation, distribution and sale of gasoline during the oil crisis in early 1974-- regulations which it was asserted unfairly interfered with their travel to and from work-- certain unidentified coal miners allegedly affiliated with various locals of the United Mine Workers, but not employees of either of the plaintiffs in these two actions, set up picket lines about the mines operated by the plaintiffs United States Steel Corporation and Armco Steel Corporation. The plaintiffs' employees, all of whom were represented by the United Mine Workers of America under the terms of the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1971, refused to cross these picket lines, thereby causing a work-stoppage at the mines of the two plaintiffs.

(a) United States Steel Corporation v. United Mine Workers

The plaintiff United States Steel promptly filed in the District Court an action under Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. 185, seeking (1) to enjoin the work-stoppage as allegedly in violation of the Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement, (2) to require compliance by the defendants with the arbitration procedures of that agreement, and (3) for damages. The defendants in this action are the United Mine Workers of America, District No. 29 of the national union and the six locals, representing the employees at the plaintiff's several mines. Contemporaneous with the filing of the action, it moved before the District Court for a temporary injunction against the work-stoppage. After hearing, the District Court entered an order denying both preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. In so doing, it held that, while the plaintiff was 'suffering irreparable damage and harm from refusal of the members of said defendant Local Unions to cross picket lines maintained by unidentified pickets,' the work-stoppage did not represent 'an arbitrable matter under the wage agreement' and would not provide a basis for injunctive relief under Boys Markets v. Clerks Union (1970), 398 U.S. 235, 90 S.Ct. 1583, 26 L.Ed.2d 199. 1 It is from that order that the United States Steel Corporation prosecutes its appeal. See, Section 1291, 28 U.S.C.

(b) Armco Steel Corporation v. United Mine Workers

In its original complaint, filed about the same time as that of the United States Steel, Armco Steel set forth three counts: one under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, 15 U.S.C. 1 et seq., a second, under the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-159) and the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, as amended (12 U.S.C., 1904), and a third, a common law count for tortious interference with employees contrary to state law. After hearing, the District Court held it was without jurisdiction to entertain counts one and two 2 and jurisdiction over count three being pendent, it dismissed the third count as well. At this point Armco moved for and was granted leave to amend by adding a fourth count, setting up a claim under Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, as amended, similar to that asserted by the United States Steel. Following this amendment, Armco applied for a temporary injunction on the same grounds pressed by United States Steel and the District Court made a similar ruling. Armco has appealed both the dismissal of its anti-trust action as well as the dismissal of its application for relief under its fourth count.

(c) Consolidation for Appeal of Two Cases

Since the appeals of both United States Steel and Armco have the same factual background and, at least so far as the actions under Section 301 are concerned, present similar issues, we consolidated the appeals for hearing and shall decide the two appeals in a single opinion.

I. Section 301 Actions

First consideration will be given to the Section 301 actions and the denial of relief therein by the District Court in both cases on like grounds. In United States Steel injunctive relief only was denied. In Armco all relief was denied.

In Boys Markets it was established that a District Court, subject to the traditional principles of equity, has jurisdiction under Section 301 to grant injunctive relief against a work-stoppage on the part of the union if the collective bargaining agreement contains a mandatory arbitration procedure and the work-stoppage is over a grievance or involves a matter which the parties are contractually bound to arbitrate. Monongahela Pow. Co. v. Loc. No. 2332 (4 Cir., 1973), 484 F.2d 1209, 1214, n. 14; Wilmington Shipping Company v. International Longshoremen's Assn. (4th Cir. 1974); cf., Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters (4th Cir. 1974), 497 F.2d 311. The defendants, however, contend that Boys Markets is inapposite in these case for three reasons: 1. The Bituminous Coal Agreement of 1971 does not include a specific 'no-strike' provision or promise not to engage in any work-stoppage which, under their view of Boys Markets, is essential to injunctive relief; 2. The dispute, giving rise to the work-stoppage, was not arbitrable; and 3. The refusal of workers to violate a picket line may not be enjoined.

The first objection of the defendants may be quickly disposed of. An agreement not to strike and not to engage in a work-stoppage over any arbitrable issue may be implied from a mandatory arbitration provision in a labor-management contract. This was specifically held in Gateway Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers (1974), 414 U.S. 368, 94 S.Ct. 629, 38 L.Ed.2d 583. There the Court said:

'Although the collective-bargaining agreement in Boys Markets contained an express no-strike clause, injunctive relief also may be granted on the basis of an implied undertaking not to strike. In Teamsters Local v. Lucas Flour Co., 369 U.S. 95 (82 S.Ct. 571, 7 L.Ed.2d 593) (1962), the Court held that a contractual commitment to submit disagreements to final and binding arbitration gives rise to an implied obligation not to strike over such disputes.' (p. 381, 94 S.Ct. p. 638)

It should be noted that the 1968 agreement involved in Gateway has like language to the 1971 agreement involved here. And in its decision construing that earlier provision, the Court held categorically that such Agreement incorporated by implication a no-strike provision and a promise to submit to binding arbitration any arbitrable dispute or issue. It is true the obligation found by the Court to exist was an implied and not an express obligation. But, as Gateway decided, an implied obligation not to strike is as effective as an express obligation in supporting jurisdiction under Boys Markets. Actually, Gateway's holding that an implied agreement not to strike is as effective as an express one is little more than a reiteration of what had been indicated in Boys Markets itself. There, the Court, in stating its rule, upheld jurisdiction to grant injunctive relief on the basis of 'a nostrike obligation, express or implied,' thereby equating 'implied' with 'express' obligations (398 U.S. at p. 248, 90 S.Ct. 1583). It follows, therefore, that there was an implied obligation on the Union under this Agreement to submit to mandatory arbitration any arbitrable issue between the Union and the employers and that this 'implied' obligation was as good as an 'express' provision, so far as the application of Boys Markets was concerned.

Accepting the postulate that there was an obligation under the Agreement involved here, to submit any arbitrable issue to mandatory arbitration, the next issue is: Was the refusal of the members of the Union to cross the picket lines an arbitrable issue? Monongahela Pow. Co. v. Local No. 2332, supra (484 F.2d 1209), seems conclusive that it was. In that case, the Court stated that a court, in construing a labor agreement, should 'resolve all doubt in favor of arbitration, and order arbitration 'unless it may be said with positive assurance that the arbitration clause is not susceptible of an interpretation that covers the asserted dispute." (at 1213). Following this premise, the Court held that 'a union's no-strike commitment can give rise to an arbitrable dispute warranting judicial intervention in the form of a labor injunction.' 3 The dispute there involved was the same as here, i.e., the arbitrability of the refusal of members of a local union to cross picket lines established by another local. The picket lines, which the members of the defendant local were honoring in that case, were established for the purpose of showing 'sympathy and solidarity' with employees on strike in another Division of the employer and represented by another local. The objective of the picketing was as unrelated and foreign to the actual working conditions of the employees at the...

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