Gateway Coal v. United Mine Workers of America

PETITIONER: Gateway Coal
RESPONDENT: United Mine Workers of America
LOCATION: Robert Welch Inc.

DOCKET NO.: 72-782
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 414 US 368 (1974)
ARGUED: Oct 15, 1973
DECIDED: Jan 08, 1974

ADVOCATES:
Joseph A. Yablonski - for respondents
Leonard L. Scheinholtz - for petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Gateway Coal v. United Mine Workers of America

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 15, 1973 in Gateway Coal v. United Mine Workers of America

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 08, 1974 in Gateway Coal v. United Mine Workers of America

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

Number 72-782, Gateway Coal against United Mine Workers, involves a dispute between Gateway Coal operating a mine in Pennsylvania and the UMW.

Certain foremen were suspended for falsifying records as to airflow conditions in the mine.

When the company reinstated the foremen pursuant to authorization from State Authorities, the union employees walked out to protest the alleged safety hazard created by the return of the discharged foremen.

The union refused to arbitrate the dispute, contending that an issue of mine safety was not subject to arbitration.

The company brought suit under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act.

It contended that the broad arbitration clause of the collective bargaining agreement governed the dispute.

The District Court issued a preliminary injunction against continuation of the strike and ordered arbitration.

In addition, the court suspended the foremen pending the decision in arbitration.

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed.

The case is here on certiorari.

The arbitration clause expressly covers any local trouble of any kind arising at the mine.

The clause is broad enough to encompass dispute, although that was no express agreement not the strike.

The prior decisions of this Court have held that a contractual duty to arbitrate, gives rise to an implied no strike obligation.

The union relied on Section 502 of the Act which provides that the quiting of the employees in good faith because of abnormal and dangerous conditions shall not be deemed a strike.

We conclude, however, that under the circumstances of this case, 502 is not applicable.

We conclude further that the District Court had authority to enforce the no strike obligation.

We noted that suspension by the District Court of the foremen in question, pending filed arbitration had eliminated any threat of safety.

Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals.

Mr. Justice Douglas has filed a dissenting opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Powell.