Drake Bakeries Incorporated v. Local 50, American Bakery & Confectionery Workers International, AFL-CIO

PETITIONER: Drake Bakeries Incorporated
RESPONDENT: Local 50, American Bakery & Confectionery Workers International, AFL-CIO
LOCATION: United States District Court for the District of Columbia

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 370 US 254 (1962)
ARGUED: Apr 18, 1962
DECIDED: Jun 18, 1962

Facts of the case


Media for Drake Bakeries Incorporated v. Local 50, American Bakery & Confectionery Workers International, AFL-CIO

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1962 in Drake Bakeries Incorporated v. Local 50, American Bakery & Confectionery Workers International, AFL-CIO

Earl Warren:

In the next case, Number 430, counsel apparently been delayed by a late train and they're not yet here so we will go to Number 598, Drake Bakeries, Incorporated, Petitioner, versus Local 50, American Bakery and Confectionary Workers International, AFL-CIO, et al.

Mr. Abelow.

Robert Abelow:

May it please the Court.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The judgment affirmed an order of the District Court which stayed the plaintiff's action for damages brought against the union pursuant to Section 301 (a) of the Labor Management Relations Act.

The company claiming that the union had breached the no-strike clause in its collective bargaining agreement.

Now, briefly and by way of background, Drake is a wholesale bakery company in New York and has a plant in Brooklyn which employs approximately 200 members of the bakery workers union.

New Year's Day in 1960 fell on a Friday.

And in order to get freshly baked products to consuming public on Monday and Tuesday, Drake scheduled production for the Saturday following New Year's Day, January 2nd and allowed the employees to take off Thursday instead.

In that way, they were able to get to the consuming public of baked products that were two days old instead of four or five days old.

The union objected to this and made it clear to management that they would come in on Thursday but they wouldn't come in on Fri -- on Saturday because that was, as they said, a violation of past practice and the employees had the right to anticipate a three-day weekend.

And making good their threat that the employees would not come in on Saturday, 85% of them didn't come in.

The handful of employees who did respond to the company's request for work was insufficient to the get the plant started.

We closed the plant.

We lost thousands of dollars worth of production and sales and a considerable amount of costumer goodwill.

Now, for the purpose of this appeal, I don't think we need to discuss the merits of the union's claim with regard to past practice.

Because I understand the decisions, though the merits of the underlying dispute are matters that will be taken up by the trial court upon a full hearing.

What -- what has happen here is that instead of utilizing the available contractual grievance and arbitration machinery with regard to this underlying dispute of schedule, the union instigated, encouraged, it advised its employees that they did not have to report on Saturday and in fact they didn't.

They made good their threat that there would be a strike.

Now, Drake promptly instituted an action under 301 (a) and the union just as properly made a motion to stay the action on the ground that the issue was arbitrable.

And the case came before Chief Judge Sylvester Ryan of the District Court in New York and the motion was granted.

Thereupon, Drake took an appeal and a panel of -- of the judges of the Court Appeals consisting of Judges Swan, Lumbard and Moore unanimously reversed, deciding that the breach of the no-strike clause was not covered by the arbitration clause.

That the union had flaunted the grievance and arbitration machinery and hence the use -- the union's motion for a stay had been improperly granted.

Then the union moved for a rehearing en banc and that application was granted.

And at the time the rehearing came on before the judges of the Second Circuit, they were six in number, Judge Swan having since retired and the decision of the six judges was right down the middle, they split evenly.

Judge Lumbard, Judge Moore, Judge Friendly voted to sustain the original determination of the Court of Appeals, namely, that we could go forward with our action.

Judges Clark, Waterman and Smith voted to reverse that determination and sustained the decision of the District Court on the authority of the Steelworkers cases and to -- and the other case was left.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

If I had the practical --

Robert Abelow:

The court --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

-- effect I gather of -- nothing stand the District Court's judgment, did it?