Local 100 of United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices v. Borden, No. 541

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHARLAN
Citation83 S.Ct. 1423,10 L.Ed.2d 638,373 U.S. 690
PartiesLOCAL 100 OF the UNITED ASSOCIATION OF JOURNEYMEN AND APPRENTICES, Petitioner, v. H. N. BORDEN
Docket NumberNo. 541
Decision Date03 June 1963

373 U.S. 690
83 S.Ct. 1423
10 L.Ed.2d 638
LOCAL 100 OF the UNITED ASSOCIATION OF JOURNEYMEN AND APPRENTICES, Petitioner,

v.

H. N. BORDEN.

No. 541.
Argued April 24, 1963.
Decided June 3, 1963.

L. N. D. Wells, Jr., Dallas, Tex., for petitioner.

Robert Weldon Smith, Dallas, Tex., for respondent.

Page 691

Mr. Justice HARLAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents one facet of the recurrent problem of defining the permissible scope of state jurisdiction in the field of labor relations. The particular question before us involves consideration and application, in this suit by a union member against a local union, of the principles declared in International Assn. of Machinists v. Gonzales, 356 U.S. 617, 78 S.Ct. 923, 2 L.Ed.2d 1018, and San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d 775.

I.

The respondent, H. N. Borden, who was then a member of the Shreveport, Louisiana, local of the plumbers union, arrived in Dallas, Texas, in September 1953, looking for a job with the Farwell Construction Company on a particular bank construction project. Farwell's hiring on this project was done through union referral, although there was no written agreement to this effect. Borden was unable to obtain such a referral from the business agent of the Dallas local of the plumbers union, even after the agent had accepted Borden's clearance card from the Shreveport local and after the Farwell foreman on the construction project had called the business agent and asked to have Borden sent over. According to Borden's testimony, the business agent told him:

'You are not going to work down there on the bank job or for Farwell, you have come in here wrong, you have come in here with a job in your pocket.'

And according to the Farwell foreman, the business agent answered his request by saying:

'I am not about to send that old _ _ down there, he shoved his card down our throat and I am not about to send him to the bank.'

Page 692

Borden never did get the job with Farwell, although he was referred to and accepted several other jobs during the period before the bank construction project was completed.

Subsequently, he brought the present suit against the Dallas local, petitioner here, and the parent International,1 seeking damages under state law for the refusal to refer him to Farwell. He alleged that the actions of the defendants constituted a willful, malicious, and discriminatory interference with his right to contract and to pursue a lawful occupation; that the defendants had breached a promise, implicit in the membership arrangement, not to discriminate unfairly or to deny any member the right to work; and that the defendants had violated certain state statutory provisions.2

Petitioner challenged the state court's jurisdiction, asserting that the subject matter of the suit was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. The trial court upheld the challenge and dismissed the suit, but on appeal the Texas Court of Civil Appeals, relying on this Court's decision in International Assn. of Machinists v. Gonzales, supra, reversed and remanded for trial. 316 S.W.2d 458. The Texas Supreme Court granted a writ of error on another point in the case and affirmed the remand. 160 Tex. 203, 328 S.W.2d 739.

At trial, the case was submitted to the jury on special issues and the jury's answers included findings that Borden had been promised a job by a Farwell representa-

Page 693

tive; that the Farwell foreman asked the union business agent to refer Borden; that the business agent 'wilfully' refused to let Borden work on the bank project, knowing that Borden was entitled to work on that project under union rules; and that the conduct of the business agent was approved by the officers and members of petitioner. Actual loss of earnings resulting from the refusal to refer Borden to the Farwell job was found to be $1,916; compensation for mental suffering, $1,500; and punitive damages, $5,000. The trial court disallowed recovery for mental anguish and ordered a remittitur of the punitive damages in excess of the amount of actual damages, thus awarding total damages of $3,832. The Court of Civil Appeals affirmed, 355 S.W.2d 729, again rejecting petitioner's preemption argument. Following denial of a writ of error by the Supreme Court of Texas, we granted certiorari, 371 U.S. 939, 83 S.Ct. 319, 9 L.Ed.2d 274, to consider the question whether federal labor law precludes the exercise of state jurisdiction over this dispute.

II.

This Court held in San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d 775, that in the absence of an overriding state interest such as that involved in the maintenance of domestic peace, state courts must defer to the exclusive competence of the National Labor Relations Board in cases in which the activity that is the subject matter of the litigation is arguably subject to the protections of § 7 or the prohibitions of § 8 of the National Labor Relations Act.3 This relinquishment of state jurisdic-

Page 694

tion, the Court stated, is essential 'if the danger of state interference with national policy is to be averted,' 359 U.S., at 245, 79 S.Ct., at 780 and is as necessary in a suit for damages as in a suit seeking equitable relief. Thus the first inquiry, in any case in which a claim of federal preemption is raised, must be whether the conduct called into question may reasonably be asserted to be subject to Labor Board cognizance.

In the present case, respondent contends that no such assertion can be made, but we disagree.4 The facts as alleged in the complaint, and as found by the jury, are that the Dallas union business agent, with the ultimate approval of the local union itself, refused to refer the respondent to a particular job for which he had been sought, and that this refusal resulted in an inability to obtain the employment. Notwithstanding the state court's contrary view, if it is assumed that the refusal and the resulting inability to obtain employment were in some way based on respondent's actual or believed failure to comply with internal union rules, it is certainly 'arguable' that the union's conduct violated § 8(b)(1)(A), by restraining or coercing Borden in the exercise of his protected right to refrain from observing those rules, and § 8(b)(2), by causing an employer to discriminate against Borden in violation of § 8(a)(3). 5 See, e.g.,

Page 695

Radio Officers' Union, etc. v. National Labor Relations Board, 347 U.S. 17, 74 S.Ct. 323, 98 L.Ed. 455; Local 568, Hotel Employees, 141 N.L.R.B. No. 29; International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 524 A—B, 141 N.L.R.B. No. 57. As established in the Radio Officers case, the 'membership' referred to in §...

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158 practice notes
  • N.L.R.B. v. South Cent. Bell Telephone Co., No. 81-4159
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • October 4, 1982
    ...NLRB, 347 U.S. 17, 39-42, 74 S.Ct. 323, 335-337, 98 L.Ed. 455 (1954); see also United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices v. Borden, 373 U.S. 690, 695, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 1426, 10 L.Ed.2d 638 (1963). Because holding union office is the "essence of protected union activities," General Moto......
  • Lewis v. Local Union No. 100 of Laborers' Intern. Union of North America, AFL-CIO, No. 83-3095
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • December 18, 1984
    ...are cognizant that our interpretation of Vaca conflicts somewhat with the result reached by the Supreme Court in Plumbers Union v. Borden, 373 U.S. 690, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 10 L.Ed.2d 638. Nonetheless, given our analysis above, we are convinced that our interpretation is the correct one. See Smi......
  • McDonald v. Oliver, AFL--CIO
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 14, 1976
    ...& Vicinity, 417 U.S. 12, 15, 94 S.Ct. 2069, 40 L.Ed.2d 620 (1974); Local 100, United Ass'n of Journeymen & Apprentices v. Borden, 373 U.S. 690, 693, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 10 L.Ed.2d 638 Borden construed the union membership rights protected by § 8(a)(3) and incorporated in § 8(b)(2) to embrace par......
  • Smith v. Local No. 25, Sheet Metal Workers Intern. Ass'n, No. 73-2338
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 11, 1974
    ...practice under section 8(b)(2) of the Labor Management Relations Act, citing Local 100 of United Ass'n of Jour. & App. v. Borden, 1963, 373 U.S. 690, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 10 L.Ed.2d 638, and San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 1959, 359 U.S. 236, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d 775. The district......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
158 cases
  • N.L.R.B. v. South Cent. Bell Telephone Co., No. 81-4159
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • October 4, 1982
    ...NLRB, 347 U.S. 17, 39-42, 74 S.Ct. 323, 335-337, 98 L.Ed. 455 (1954); see also United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices v. Borden, 373 U.S. 690, 695, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 1426, 10 L.Ed.2d 638 (1963). Because holding union office is the "essence of protected union activities," General Moto......
  • Lewis v. Local Union No. 100 of Laborers' Intern. Union of North America, AFL-CIO, No. 83-3095
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • December 18, 1984
    ...are cognizant that our interpretation of Vaca conflicts somewhat with the result reached by the Supreme Court in Plumbers Union v. Borden, 373 U.S. 690, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 10 L.Ed.2d 638. Nonetheless, given our analysis above, we are convinced that our interpretation is the correct one. See Smi......
  • McDonald v. Oliver, AFL--CIO
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 14, 1976
    ...& Vicinity, 417 U.S. 12, 15, 94 S.Ct. 2069, 40 L.Ed.2d 620 (1974); Local 100, United Ass'n of Journeymen & Apprentices v. Borden, 373 U.S. 690, 693, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 10 L.Ed.2d 638 Borden construed the union membership rights protected by § 8(a)(3) and incorporated in § 8(b)(2) to embrace par......
  • Smith v. Local No. 25, Sheet Metal Workers Intern. Ass'n, No. 73-2338
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 11, 1974
    ...practice under section 8(b)(2) of the Labor Management Relations Act, citing Local 100 of United Ass'n of Jour. & App. v. Borden, 1963, 373 U.S. 690, 83 S.Ct. 1423, 10 L.Ed.2d 638, and San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 1959, 359 U.S. 236, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d 775. The district......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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