National Labor Relations Board v. Company 8212 93, NASH-FINCH

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDOUGLAS
PartiesNATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner, v. COMPANY, dba Jack and Jill Stores. —93
Decision Date08 December 1971
Docket NumberNASH-FINCH,No. 70

404 U.S. 138
92 S.Ct. 373
30 L.Ed.2d 328
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner,

v.

NASH-FINCH COMPANY, dba Jack and Jill Stores.

No. 70—93.
Argued Oct. 19, 1971
Decided Dec. 8, 1971.
Syllabus

A union which had begun organizing respondent company's employees charged the company with unfair labor practices. The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint, whiuch a Trial Examiner sustained, recommending that respondent be ordered to cease and desist from such practices. Before the NLRB acted, the union picketed respondent's stores and respondent, contending that the union's action violated state law, sought and obtained an injunction from a state court limiting the union's picketing activities. Subsequently the NLRB issued an order accepting the Trial Examiner's recommendations and then brought this action in District Court to restrain enforcement of the state court injunction on the ground that it regulated conduct governed exclusively by the National Labor Relations Act. The District Court held that it was precluded from granting relief by 28 U.S.C. § 2283, which prohibits a federal court from enjoining state court proceedings except as authorized by Act of Congress 'or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.' The court rejected the contention that the NLRB was within the exception recognized in Leiter Minerals, Inc. v. United States, 352 U.S. 220, 77 S.Ct. 287, 1 L.Ed.2d 267, for suits brought by the United States. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that for purposes of § 2283, the NLRB is 'an administrative agency of the United States, and is not the United States.' Held:

1. Since the action here does not seek to restrain unfair labor practices against which the NLRB had issued its complaint but is based on the general doctrien of pre-emption, the exception in § 2283 for matters 'necessary in aid of its jurisdiction' is inapplicable. Capital Service, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, 347 U.S. 501, 74 S.Ct. 699, 98 L.Ed. 887 distinguished. P. 141—142.

2. For the purpose of preventing frustration of the National Labor Relations Act, the NLRB has an implied authority to obtain a federal injunction against state court action pre-empted by the

Page 139

Act; such an injunction falls within the exception to § 2283 recognized in Leiter Minerals, Inc. supra, for suits brought by the United States, and the fact that the party moving for an injunction is a federal agency and not the Attorney General is irrelevant. Bowles v. Willingham, 321 U.S. 503, 64 S.Ct. 641, 88 L.Ed. 892. Pp. 142—148.

434 F.2d 971, reversed and remanded.

Lawrence G. Wallace, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

William A. Harding, Lincoln, Neb., for respondent, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

Title 28 U.S.C. § 2283 provides:

'A court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a State court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.'

The question is whether the National Labor Relations Board may, through proceedings in a federal court, en-

Page 140

join a state court order which regulates peaceful picketing governed by the federal agency. The District Court, 320 F.Supp. 858, rejected the Board's contention that it is within the exception to § 2283,1 recognized in Leiter Minerals, Inc. v. United States, 352 U.S. 220, 77 S.Ct. 287, 1 L.Ed.2d 267, as respects suits brought by the United States. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 434 F.2d 971. The case is here on a petition for a writ of certiorari which we granted, 402 U.S. 928, 91 S.Ct. 1524, 28 L.Ed.2d 862.

When a union began organizing employees of certain stores in Grand Island, Nebraska, the union filed unfair labor practice charges against the company. The General Counsel issued a complaint. A hearing was held and a Trial Examiner sustained the complaint and recommended that the company cease and desist. Shortly thereafter and before the Board had acted, the union picketed the stores. The company thereupon petitioned the Nebraska state court for an injunction. The state court issued a restraining order, limiting the pickets to two at each store, enjoining them from blocking or picketing entrances or exits and from distributing literature pertaining to the dispute which would halt or slow traffic, from instigating conversations with customers in any manner relating to the dispute, from mass picketing, from acts of physical coercion against persons driving to work, and from doing any act in violation of Neb.Rev.Stat. § 28 812, which makes unlawful 'loitering about, picketing or patrolling the place of work * * * against the will of such person.' The injunction also bans anyone other than a bona fide union member from picketing unless he become a defendant in the state proceedings. Finally, the injunction bars anyone, other than pickets and named defendants, from picketing, distributing handbills, or otherwise 'caus(ing) to be pub-

Page 141

lished or broadcast any information pertaining to the dispute * * * between the parties.'

Later the Board entered its decision and order accepting in part the Trial Examiner's recommendations and rejecting parts not material to the present controversy.

The Board then filed this suit in the Federal District Court seeking to restrain the enforcement of the state court injunction on the ground that it regulated conduct which was governed exclusively by the National Labor Relations Act. As noted, both the District Court and the Court of Appeals denied the Board relief. The Court of Appeals held that for the purposes of § 2283 the Board is 'an administrative agency of the United States, and is not the United States.' 434 F.2d, at 975. Congress from the beginning has restricted the authority of the federal judiciary to interfere with state court actions. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43—44, 91 S.Ct. 746, 750, 27 L.Ed.2d 669. The present § 2283 is a revision of earlier provisions of federal statutes which were construed to allow within limits such federal injunctions in favor of federal agencies. Bowles v. Willingham, 321 U.S. 503, 510, 64 S.Ct. 641, 645, 88 L.Ed. 892. Any exception in favor of federal agencies must, however, be 'implied,' ibid., unless it comes within the exceptions stated in § 2283.

It is suggested that this federal injunction was 'in aid' of the jurisdiction of the federal court since the suit is in the District Court by reason of 28 U.S.C. § 1337 which grants jurisdiction over 'any civil action or proceeding arising under any Act of Congress regulating commerce.' In Capital Service, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, 347 U.S. 501, 74 S.Ct. 699, 98 L.Ed. 887, an employer invoked the aid both of a state court and of the federal Board against picketing. The Board sought a federal court injunction under § 10(l) of the Act, 29 U.S.C. § 160(l), which specifically allows it wherever an unfair labor practice respecting a secondary boycott or picketing violative of § 8(b) (4) or § 8(b)(7)

Page 142

of the Act is involved. We ruled that the state injunction 'restrains conduct which the District Court was asked to enjoin in the § 10(l) proceding.' Id., at 505, 74 S.Ct., at 702. We held that under those circumstances an injunction by the federal court was 'necessary in aid of its jurisdiction' over commerce, because the federal court to exercise its jurisdiction 'freely and fully' must 'first remove the state decree.' Id., at 506, 74 S.Ct., at 703.

In the instant case the company did not file any charges with the Board which claimed that the union's picketing violated § 8(b)(4) or § 8(b)(7) of the Act, 73 Stat. 542 and 544, 29 U.S.C. § 158(b)(4) and § 158(b)(7).

Section 10(j) gives the District Court similar authority in respect of an unfair labor practice of the employer under § 8(a)(1) of the Act which protects the right of employees to organize. But a resort to court action, the Board has held, does not violate § 8(a)(1). See Clyde Taylor Co., 127 N.L.R.B. 103, 109.

The action in the instant case does not seek an injunction to restrain specific activities upon which the Board has issued a complaint but is based upon the general doctrine of pre-emption. We therefore do not believe this case falls within the narrow exception contained in § 2283 for matter 'necessary in aid of its jurisdiction.' There is in the Act no express authority for the Board to seek injunctive relief against pre-empted state action. The question remains whether there is implied authority to do so.

It has long been held that the Board, though not granted express statutory remedies, may obtain appropriate and traditional ones to prevent frustration of the purposes of the Act. We held in In re National Labor Relations Board, 304 U.S. 486, 496, 58 S.Ct. 1001, 1006, 82 L.Ed. 1482, that even in the absence of an express statutory remedy, the Board might petition for writ of prohibition against premature invo-

Page 143

cation of the review jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals. In amalgamated Utility Workers v. Consolidated Edison Co., 309 U.S. 261, 60 S.Ct. 561, 84 L.Ed. 738, we held that the Board had implied authority to institute contempt proceedings for violation of court decrees enforcing orders of the Board. In Nathanson v. National Labor Relations Board, 344 U.S. 25, 73 S.Ct. 80, 97 L.Ed. 23, we found an implied authority of the Board to file claims in bankruptcy covering the sums included in its back-pay awards. The claims were not given priority under § 64(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Act, but this was because 'the United States (was) collecting for the benefit of a private party,' id., at 28, 73 S.Ct., at 82, not as suggested, post, at 28, because the Board's juridical status was something less than that of the United States.2

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180 practice notes
  • Hodgson v. Hamilton Municipal Court, No. 7954.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • July 31, 1972
    ...1964); Tampa Phosphate Railroad Co. v. Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Co., 418 F.2d 387 (5 Cir., 1969). See also, NLRB v. Nash Finch Co., 404 U.S. 138, 144-145, 92 S.Ct. 373, 30 L. Ed.2d 328 (1971); Mitchum v. Foster, 407 U.S. 225, 235-237, 92 S.Ct. 2151, 2158-2159, 32 L.Ed.2d 705 Title III, ......
  • Int'l Ass'n of Machinists Dist. Ten & Local Lodge 873 v. Allen, No. 17-1178
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 13, 2018
    ...v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Comm'n , 427 U.S. 132, 140 [96 S.Ct. 2548, 49 L.Ed.2d 396] (1976) (quoting NLRB v. Nash–Finch Co. , 404 U.S. 138, 144 [92 S.Ct. 373, 30 L.Ed.2d 328] (1971) ). Machinists pre-emption is based on the premise that " ‘Congress struck a balance of protection, pr......
  • Langley v. Ryder, Civ. A. No. 85-0030.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • March 15, 1985
    ...relief by the United States or one of its agencies in asserting a superior federal interest is well-established. NLRB v. Nash-Finch Co., 404 U.S. 138, 92 S.Ct. 373, 30 L.Ed.2d 328 (1971); Leiter Minerals v. United States, 352 U.S. 220, 77 S.Ct. 287, 1 L.Ed.2d 267 (1957). Thus, these cases a......
  • Chaulk Services, Inc. v. Massachusetts Com'n Against Discrimination, No. 95-1249
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • August 2, 1995
    ...against the state proceedings if it thought the state proceedings conflicted with its exclusive jurisdiction. NLRB v. Nash-Finch Co., 404 U.S. 138, 142-44, 92 S.Ct. 373, 376-77, 30 L.Ed.2d 328 (1971). 23 The fact that the NLRB did not so move speaks I respectfully dissent. --------------- *......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
180 cases
  • Hodgson v. Hamilton Municipal Court, No. 7954.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • July 31, 1972
    ...1964); Tampa Phosphate Railroad Co. v. Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Co., 418 F.2d 387 (5 Cir., 1969). See also, NLRB v. Nash Finch Co., 404 U.S. 138, 144-145, 92 S.Ct. 373, 30 L. Ed.2d 328 (1971); Mitchum v. Foster, 407 U.S. 225, 235-237, 92 S.Ct. 2151, 2158-2159, 32 L.Ed.2d 705 Title III, ......
  • Int'l Ass'n of Machinists Dist. Ten & Local Lodge 873 v. Allen, No. 17-1178
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 13, 2018
    ...v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Comm'n , 427 U.S. 132, 140 [96 S.Ct. 2548, 49 L.Ed.2d 396] (1976) (quoting NLRB v. Nash–Finch Co. , 404 U.S. 138, 144 [92 S.Ct. 373, 30 L.Ed.2d 328] (1971) ). Machinists pre-emption is based on the premise that " ‘Congress struck a balance of protection, pr......
  • Langley v. Ryder, Civ. A. No. 85-0030.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • March 15, 1985
    ...relief by the United States or one of its agencies in asserting a superior federal interest is well-established. NLRB v. Nash-Finch Co., 404 U.S. 138, 92 S.Ct. 373, 30 L.Ed.2d 328 (1971); Leiter Minerals v. United States, 352 U.S. 220, 77 S.Ct. 287, 1 L.Ed.2d 267 (1957). Thus, these cases a......
  • Chaulk Services, Inc. v. Massachusetts Com'n Against Discrimination, No. 95-1249
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • August 2, 1995
    ...against the state proceedings if it thought the state proceedings conflicted with its exclusive jurisdiction. NLRB v. Nash-Finch Co., 404 U.S. 138, 142-44, 92 S.Ct. 373, 376-77, 30 L.Ed.2d 328 (1971). 23 The fact that the NLRB did not so move speaks I respectfully dissent. --------------- *......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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