Weber v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

Citation75 S.Ct. 480,348 U.S. 468,99 L.Ed. 546
Decision Date28 March 1955
Docket NumberANHEUSER-BUSC,I,No. 97,97
PartiesLloyd WEBER et al., Petitioners, v. nc
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Mr.Robert A. Roessel, St. Louis, Mo., for petitioner.

Mr. David E. Feller, Washington, D.C., for C.I.O. amicus curiae.

Mr. Mark D. Eagleton, St. Louis, Mo., for respondent.

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case grew out of a dispute between petitioner, the International Association of Machinists (IAM), affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, and the Millwrights, affiliated with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners (Carpenters), which in turn was affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, over millwright work being performed for respondent, each union claiming the work for its own members.

Respondent is engaged in the interstate manufacture and sale of beer and other commodities, with its principal place of business in St. Louis, Missouri. Its employees include members of both the IAM and the Carpenters. Respondent has always required a large amount of millwright work to be performed by outside contractors in the expansion of its facilities. After the IAM was certi- fied in 1948 by the National Labor Relations Board as the exclusive bargaining representative of respondent's machinists, respondent executed a collective bargaining contract with the IAM for 1949 which provided in part that when the repair or replacement of machinery was necessary, this work would be given only to those contractors who had collective agreements with the IAM. As a result of protests from the Carpenters, who claimed the same type of work for their own members, the clause was deleted from the 1950 contract between respondent and the IAM, but it was later reinstated in the 1951 contract. The Carpenters again protested, this time threatening that they would sign no contract with respondent covering those employees who were members of the Carpenters until the clause was deleted from the IAM contract. When the 1951 IAM contract expired and negotiations for a 1952 contract began, respondent refused to agree to the insertion of the clause in the new contract. An impasse was reached in the negotiations, and finally the IAM went on strike.

At the time the strike was called, only one contractor was actually engaged in respondent's millwright work, and the employees of that one contractor were covered by a contract with the IAM.

On April 8, 1952, the day after the strike was called, respondent filed a charge of an unfair labor practice under § 8(b)(4)(D) of the Taft-Hartley Act against the IAM.1

On November 18, 1952, the National Labor Relations Board quashed the notice of a hearing, holding that no 'dispute' existed within the meaning of the invoked subsection. The Board reasoned that at the time of the strike, the IAM could not have been requesting the assignment of 'particular' work to IAM members, because the IAM was not complaining about the assignment of work by respondent to its own employees, and as to work assigned by respondent's contractors, (1) the IAM had made no demand on those contractors to give their work to IAM labor, and (2) no millwright work performed by respondent's contractors at that time was in fact being performed by other than IAM labor. District No. 9, International Association of Machinists, 101 N.L.R.B. 346.

It must be emphasized that the only unfair labor practice charge filed with the Board, and the only one upon which the Board acted, was that prescribed in Subsection (D) of § 8(b)(4).

In the meantime, on April 19, 1952, after it had filed the charge with the Board but before the Board had acted upon it, respondent sought an injunction against the IAM in the State Circuit Court in St. Louis. In its complaint, respondent alleged that the strike constituted 'a secondary boycott under the common law of the State of Missouri,' and also was in violation of Subsections (A), (B) and (D) of § 8(b)(4) of the Taft-Hartley Act2 and of § 303(a)(1), (2) and (4) of that same Act.3 A temporary injunction issued. On April 30, respondent amended its complaint with the additional claim that the IAM's conduct constituted an illegal conspiracy in restraint of trade under Missouri common law and conspiracy statutes. Mo.Rev.Stat.1949, § 416.010, V.A.M.S. The temporary injunction was thereupon made permanent on September 30, 1952, some time before the Board, it will be recalled, held that there was no violation of § 8(b)(4)(D) of the Taft-Hartley Act. This injunction was vacated, but immediately re-entered, on October 3, 1952.

The IAM appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court from the Circuit Court's injunction. That court affirmed the permanent injunction on February 8, 1954, more than a year after the Board found no violation of § 8(b)(4)(D).

The Missouri Supreme Court held that the IAM's conduct constituted a violation of the State's restraint of trade statute and as such was enjoinable. It referred to the ruling of the Board as a determination that 'no labor dispute existed between these parties and that no unfair labor practices were there involved, and the Board, upon such ruling, quashed the notice of the hearing.' The court then stated: 'The cases relied on by the defendants (the IAM) are largely cases involving existing labor disputes and unfair labor practices. We think those cases are not in point.' The court concluded: 'A jurisdictional quarrel between two rival labor unions is not a labor dispute within the Norris-LaGuarardia Act, * * * the Wagner Act or the Taft-Hartley Act.' Mo.Sup., 265 S.W.2d 325, 332, 333. The State Supreme Court thus treated the Board's holding as a determination that the allegation on which the injunction issued excluded the basis for a charge of an unfair labor practice under the Taft-Hartley Act.

The principal question that the case raises, whether the state court had jurisdiction to enjoin the IAM's conduct or whether its jurisdiction had been preempted by the authority vested in the National Labor Relations Board, has an importance in the federal-state relations regarding industrial controversies that led us to grant certiorari. 348 U.S. 808, 75 S.Ct. 32.

The Court has had numerous occasions to deal with this delicate problem of the interplay between state and federal jurisdiction touching labor relations. It is helpful to a consideration of this latest phase briefly to summarize where our decisions, under both the Wagner Act and the Taft-Hartley Act, have brought us.

1. The Court has ruled that a State may not prohibit the exercise of rights which the federal Acts protect. Thus, in Hill v. State of Florida ex rel. Watson, 325 U.S. 538, 65 S.Ct. 1373, 1375, 89 L.Ed. 1782, the State enjoined a labor union from functioning until it had complied with certain statutory requirements. The injunction was invalidated on the ground that the Wagner Act included a 'federally established right to collective bargaining' with which the injunction conflicted. International Union of United Auto, Aircraft and Agr. Implement Workers of America v. O'Brien, 339 U.S. 454, 70 S.Ct. 781, 94 L.Ed. 978, involved the strike-vote provisions of a state act which prohibited the calling of a strike until a specific statutory procedure had been followed. The state act was held to conflict not only with the procedure and other requirements of the Taft-Hartley strike provisions but also with the protection afforded by § 7 of that Act.4 In Amalgamated Association of St. Elec. Ry. & Motor Coach Emp. of America v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Board, 340 U.S. 383, 71 S.Ct. 359, 95 L.Ed. 364, the state court issued an injunction under a statute which made it a misdemeanor to interrupt by strike any essential public utility services. It was held that the state statute was invalid in that it denied a right which Congress had guaranteed under § 7 of the Taft-Hartley Act the right to strike peacefully to enforce union demands for wages, hours and working conditions. Last Term the Court noted in Garner v. Teamsters Union, 346 U.S. 485, 499, 74 S.Ct. 161, 170, 98 L.Ed. 228, that

'The detailed prescription of a procedure for restraint of specified types of picketing would seem to imply that other picketing is to be free of other methods and sources of restraint. For the policy of the National Labor Management Relations Act is not to condemn all picketing but only that ascertained by its prescribed processes to fall within its prohibitions. Otherwise, it is implicit in the Act that the public interest is served by freedom of labor to use the weapon of picketing. For a state to impinge on the area of labor combat designed to be free is quite as much an obstruction of federal policy as if the state were to declare picketing free for purposes or by methods which the federal Act prohibits.'

2. A State may not enjoin under its own labor statute conduct which has been made an 'unfair labor practice' under the federal statutes. Such was the holding in the Garner case, supra. The Court pointed out that exclusive primary jurisdiction to pass on the union's picketing is delegated by the Taft-Hartley Act to the National Labor Relations Board. See also Plankinton Packing Co. v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Board, 338 U.S. 953, 70 S.Ct. 491, 94 L.Ed. 588, Building Trades Council v. Kinard Construction Co., 346 U.S. 933, 74 S.Ct. 373, 98 L.Ed. 423. And in Capital Service, Inc., v. Labor Board, 347 U.S. 501, 74 S.Ct. 699, 98 L.Ed. 887, a picket line established at retail stores to induce the organization of a manufacturer's employees was enjoined by the State as contrary to its public policy.5 This Court granted a limited certiorari which assumed that exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter was in the National Labor Relations Board.6 The Board was allowed to obtain an injunction against enforcement of the conflicting state court injunction.

3. The federal Board's machinery for dealing with certification...

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