Connell Constr. Company, Inc. v. Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union of the Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO

PETITIONER: Connell Construction Company, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union No. 100, United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the plumbing & Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada
LOCATION: Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union No. 100

DOCKET NO.: 73-1256
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 421 US 616 (1975)
ARGUED: Nov 19, 1974
DECIDED: Jun 02, 1975
GRANTED: May 13, 1974

ADVOCATES:
David R. Richards - for respondent
Joseph F. Canterbury, Jr. - for petitioner

Facts of the case

Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 100 picketed Connell Construction Co., a local building contractor. The union wanted Connell to sign an agreement promising only to subcontract mechanical work to Union members. Connell sued to enjoin the picketing. Connell signed the agreement with the union under protest, and amended its complaint to allege antitrust violations. The district court held that the agreement was exempt from federal antitrust laws under a provision of the National Labor Relations Act. Also, federal labor laws pre-empted state antitrust laws. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed.

Question

Does an agreement with a union to do business only with members violate state and federal antitrust laws?

Media for Connell Constr. Company, Inc. v. Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union of the Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 19, 1974 in Connell Constr. Company, Inc. v. Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union of the Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 02, 1975 in Connell Constr. Company, Inc. v. Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union of the Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The opinion of the Court in No. 73-1256, Connell Construction Company versus Steamfitters Local No. 100 will be delivered by Mr. Justice Powell.

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

This case comes to us from the Fifth Circuit.

The petitioner is a general contractor in a construction business in Dallas.

The respondent is a labor union that had no collective-bargaining agreement with a contractor.

But the union, by picketing a construction project of the contractor was deemed to agree that in granting subcontracts for plumbing and mechanical work, the contractor would deal only with subcontractors who had collective-bargaining agreements with the union.

The contractor brought this action to annul the agreement as a restraint on trade under both the federal and state antitrust laws.

For the reasons stated in our opinion filed today, we hold that the agreement between the union and the contractor is not immune from federal antitrust laws.

We remand the case to determine whether in fact, this agreement was an illegal restraint of trade.

We also hold that state antitrust laws are preempted by federal labor policy.

Mr Justice Stewart filed a dissenting opinion in which Mr. Justice Douglas, Mr. Justice Brennan, and Mr. Justice Marshall have joined.

Mr. Justice Douglas also filed a brief dissenting statement.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Thank you Mr. Justice Powell.