William Arnold Company v. Carpenters District Council of Jacksonville and Vicinity 8212 466

Decision Date20 May 1974
Docket NumberNo. 73,73
Citation417 U.S. 12,40 L.Ed.2d 620,94 S.Ct. 2069
PartiesWILLIAM E. ARNOLD COMPANY, Petitioner, v. CARPENTERS DISTRICT COUNCIL OF JACKSONVILLE AND VICINITY, etc., et al. —466
CourtU.S. Supreme Court
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, 83 S.Ct. 267, 269, 9 L.Ed.2d 246. Pp. 15—18.

(a) The pre-emption doctrine of San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d 775, 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 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.

John Paul Jones, Jacksonville, Fla., for petitioner.

Joseph S. Farley, Jr., Jacksonville, Fla., for respondents.

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 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 an 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 174 v. Lucas Flour Co., 369 U.S. 95, 82 S.Ct. 571, 7 L.Ed.2d 593 (1962), and Smith v. Evening News Assn., 371 U.S. 195, 83 S.Ct. 267, 9 L.Ed.2d 246 (1962). 414 U.S. 1063, 94 S.Ct. 568, 38 L.Ed.2d 467 (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 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), U.S.C. 29 § 158(b)(4)(i)(D),2 and therefore fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National 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, 79 S.Ct. 773, 3 L.Ed.2d 775 (1959), and its progeny, teaches that ordinarily 'the States as well as the federal courts must defer to the exclusive competence of the National Labor Relations Board if the danger of state interference with national policy is to be averted.' Id., at 245, 79 S.Ct., at 780. 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., supra, 371 U.S at 197, 83 S.Ct., at 269. This exception was explicitly reaffirmed in Motor Coach Employees v. Lockridge, 403 U.S. 274, 297—298, 91 S.Ct. 1909, 1923—1924, 29 L.Ed.2d 473 (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, 82 S.Ct. 519, 526, 7 L.Ed.2d 483 (1962). Thus, we have said that the Garmon doctrine is 'not relevant' to actions within the purview of § 301, Local 174 Teamsters v. Lucas Flour Co., supra, 369 U.S., at 101 n. 9, 82 S.Ct., at 575, which may be brought in either state or federal courts, Dowd Box Co. v. Courtney, supra, 368 U.S., at 506, 82 S.Ct., at 522.

Indeed, Board policy is to refrain from exercising jurisdiction in respect of disputed conduct arguably both an unfair labor practice and a contract violation when, as in this case, the parties have voluntarily established by contract a binding settlement procedure. See, e.g., The Associated Press, 199 N.L.R.B. 1110 (1972); Eastman Broadcasting Co., 199 N.L.R.B. 434 (1972); Laborers Local 423, 199 N.L.R.B. 450 (1972); Collyer Insulated Wire, 192 N.L.R.B. 837 (1971). The Board said in Collyer, 'an industrial relations dispute may involve conduct which, at least arguably, may contravene both the collective agreement and our statute. When the parties have contractually committed themselves to mutually agreeable procedures for resolving their disputes during the period of the contract, we are of the view that those procedures should be afforded full opportunity to function. . . . We believe it to be consistent with the fundamental objectives of Federal law to require the parties . . . to honor their contractual obligations rather than, by casting (their) dispute in statutory terms, to ignore their agreed-upon procedures.' Id., at 842—843. The Board's position harmonizes with Congress' articulated concern that, '(f)inal adjustment by a method agreed upon by the parties is . . . the desirable method for settlement of grievance disputes arising over the application or interpretation of an existing collective-bargaining agreement. . . .' § 203(d) of the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 173(d).

Furthermore, when the particular contract violation also involves an arguable violation of § 8(b)(4)(i)(D) of the NLRA concerning jurisdictional disputes, as in this case, the Board has recognized added policy justifications for deferring to the contractual dispute settlement mechanism agreed upon by the parties. Section 10(k) of the NLRA, 29 U.S.C. § 160(k), establishes a special procedure for the Board's resolution of charges involving jurisdictional disputes:

'Whenever it is charged that any person has engaged in an unfair labor practice within the meaning of paragraph (4)(D) of section 158(b) of this title, the Board is empowered and directed to hear and determine the dispute out of which such unfair labor practice shall have arisen, unless, within ten days after notice that such charge has been filed, the parties to such dispute submit to the Board satisfactory evidence that they have adjusted, or agreed upon methods for the voluntary adjustment of, the dispute. Upon compliance by the parties to the dispute with the decision of the Board or upon such voluntary adjustment of the dispute, such charge shall be dismissed.' (Emphasis added.)

Thus, § 10(k) 'not only tolerates but actively encourages voluntary settlements of work assignment controversies between unions . . ..' Carey v. Westinghouse Electric Corp., 375 U.S....

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