American Ship Building Company v. National Labor Relations Board

PETITIONER: American Ship Building Company
RESPONDENT: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: United States Post Office and Courthouse

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 380 US 300 (1965)
ARGUED: Jan 21, 1965
DECIDED: Mar 29, 1965

Facts of the case


Media for American Ship Building Company v. National Labor Relations Board

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 21, 1965 in American Ship Building Company v. National Labor Relations Board

Earl Warren:

The American Ship Building Company, Petitioner, versus National Labor Relations Board.

Mr. Tyson you may argue your case.

William S. Tyson:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This case involves a temporary layoff or lockout by the American Ship Building Company which occurred on August 11, 1961.

I would like to call the attention to a few of the salient facts with the Court's permission.

The case was originally brought charging violations of Section 8 (a) (1), 8 (a) (3) and 8 (a) (5) of the Taft-Hartley Act and was brought against all of the shipyards which this company operates in Buffalo, New York, Toledo and Lorain, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.

However, the Board dismissed the charge of failure to bargain on the 8 (a) (5) and held only with respect to the Chicago shipyard that there had been violations.

I'd like to call also to the attention --

This is a single employer.

William S. Tyson:

Right, yes sir.

This is a single employer layoff or lockout as compared with the one which you gentlemen heard yesterday involving the multiemployer lockout.

I'd like to call to the attention of the Court the fact that this was a three to two decision by the National Labor Relations Board and the Chairman of the Board, Chairman McCulloch wrote the minority opinion.

He was joined by a member Rogers in that opinion.

It was three to two indicating which is very close and then the case was appealed to the -- or went to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for enforcement.

The Court of Appeals held that the order should be enforced and on petition which we filed here, this Court has accepted the petition of the American Ship Building Company to hear the case on a limited bases on the question of whether or not the single employer lockout is the corollary of a strike under the Taft-Hart -- under Section 8 (b) (4) of the Taft-Hartley Act.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

We have no replacements prior the --

William S. Tyson:

No sir.

In -- in December 1960, the American Ship Building Company knowing the depressed condition under which the industry on the Great Lakes had operated and knowing that they were a seasonal operation because the Great Lakes are frozen over from November through to April decided that they would like to have the new contract which expired on July 31, the old contract.

They just like to have that renewed with the least disturbance that would be possible.

So they had a meeting in December and suggested this to the unit organization which was they -- there are eight craft unions here and the Boilermakers Local No. 374 in Chicago is the one that referred the charges.

Subsequently, the parties in May 1961 exchanged proposal for the new contract.

And on June 6, 1961, the first meeting of the parties was held.

At that meeting --

Earl Warren:

When was -- when did the contract expired, Mr. Tyson?

William S. Tyson:

July 31, 1961.

At that meeting, the negotiator for the American Ship Building Company called attention to the depressed condition of the industry in the Great Lakes and mentioned the fact that the company was paying as much as 42 cents an hour more than its competitors.

In addition, the union negotiator stated that he didn't want a strike.

Well both then said they didn't want a strike.

Subsequent negotiations took place beginning -- well all through June and then on July 6 the company suggested that the Federal Mediations Service to be called into the dispute and a conciliator was brought into the dispute of that day.

On July 31, agreement still had not been reached.