Boys Markets, Inc. v. Retail Clerks Union, Local 770

PETITIONER: Boys Markets, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Retail Clerks Union, Local 770
LOCATION: United States District Court for the Central District of California

DOCKET NO.: 768
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1969-1970)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 398 US 235 (1970)
ARGUED: Apr 21, 1970 / Apr 22, 1970
DECIDED: Jun 01, 1970

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Boys Markets, Inc. v. Retail Clerks Union, Local 770

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 22, 1970 (Part 2) in Boys Markets, Inc. v. Retail Clerks Union, Local 770

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 21, 1970 (Part 1) in Boys Markets, Inc. v. Retail Clerks Union, Local 770

Warren E. Burger:

Next case on for argument is Number 768, Boys Market against Retail Clerks Union.

Mr. McLaughlin, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Joseph M. Mclaughlin:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This case presents an issue which this Court faced eight years ago in Sinclair Refining Company versus Atkinson.

The question is again here today as well as an additional questionnaire to the -- was not present in Sinclair.

The issue basically is whether federal courts have jurisdiction under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 to enjoin strikes and work stoppages by labor organizations in violation of their promises contained in their labor agreements not to engage in strikes or work stoppages during the term of the labor agreement and to submit such disputes to arbitration.

This involves the question as to whether the Norris-LaGuardia Act should be accommodated to Section 301 and held not to bar the issuance of injunctions against strikes in breach or promise to arbitrate and not to strike.

So the continuing validity of this Court's decision in Sinclair is squarely at issue here today.

Also, there's a subsidiary question and that relates to the continued vitality of state court injunctions in the federal court after removal under Avco, that is assuming that this Court finds that Sinclair was rightly decided.

The factual background is simple, the petitioner and the respondent, at all times material hereto, were parties to a collective bargaining agreement.

On that agreement provided in pertinent parts that all disputes involving in any way the interpretation and application of the agreement shall be submitted to arbitration.

It further contained a specific agreement that there would be no strikes, cessations of work, picketing, boycotts or lockouts during the term of the contract.

It contained yet another specific provision namely that matters subject to the arbitration procedure should be settled and resolved by that established procedure.

The employer operates a chain of some 35 supermarkets.

On a particular day in 1969, the employer was utilizing some non-union -- some non-bargaining unit personnel to stock a frozen food case.

A union business agent observed this and objected, demanded that the employer cease.

The employer believing that he was not in violation of the contract refused.

The union called a strike.

All the employees left the store.

Picketing commenced.

The customers were told that the store has closed.

There is no service.

Pickets carried signs saying, “Local 770, this store on strike, please respect our picket lines.”

The employer demanded arbitration.

The union refused and continued to picket.

The employer went to the Superior Court, County of Los Angeles and obtained a temporary restraining order and also an order to show cause by preliminary injunction was issued.

Now in connection with this state court procedure, union counsel was notified as provided by local court rule after argument in chambers in consideration of the verified complaints, the affidavits and the likes, the order was issued.

Now the temporary restraining order enjoined the work stoppage.

The union responded promptly by removing the case to the federal court and in the federal court filed a motion to dissolve the temporary restraining order.

In opposition, the employer filed in the federal court a motion for an order compelling arbitration for an order requiring specific performance of the agreement to arbitrate and application for a preliminary injunction against the strike.