General Drivers, Warehousemen & Helpers, Local Union No. 89 v. Riss & Company, Inc.

PETITIONER: General Drivers, Warehousemen & Helpers, Local Union No. 89
RESPONDENT: Riss & Company, Inc.
LOCATION: Bay County Circuit Court

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

CITATION: 372 US 517 (1963)
ARGUED: Feb 19, 1963
DECIDED: Mar 18, 1963

Facts of the case


Media for General Drivers, Warehousemen & Helpers, Local Union No. 89 v. Riss & Company, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 19, 1963 in General Drivers, Warehousemen & Helpers, Local Union No. 89 v. Riss & Company, Inc.

Earl Warren:

Number 180, General Drivers, Warehousemen & Helpers, Local Union No. 89 et al., petitioners, versus Riss & Company, Incorporated.

Mr. Previant.

David Previant:

Mr. Chief Justice, if the Court pleases; this case comes here on writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denying the enforcement of what we describe as a grievance award.

Since the genesis of the case is on the filing of a complaint in the District Court, and since the lower courts made their determination on the basis of a motion to dismiss, holding that the facts alleged in the complaint were not sufficient to predicate a cause of action or claim for relief, the only facts which are really before this Court are those facts which are pleaded in that Bill of Complaint.

The operative, operative facts may be summarized as follows.

The petitioner Local 89 is a local labor organization, having its office in Louisville, Kentucky.

The six individual petitioners are members of Local 89 and they are represented by Local 89 for the purposes of collective bargaining with an employer who is the respondent here, Riss & Company.

Riss & Company is an interstate carrier of freight having among other places in this country, a terminal in Louisville and one in Philadelphia.

There is a collective bargaining agreement between Local 89 and the Riss Company which its counterpart has been before this Court on a number of occasions before, it’s Exhibit A in the record.

It’s a multiemployer, multi-union, multi-state contract.

The contract provides among other things --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Is this the contract in [Inaudible]?

David Previant:

It is virtually the same contract, although this one covers Local Cartage operations where the out of the case covers that --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:


David Previant:

-- over the rule.

But the contract clauses with which we are here concerned --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The same one?

David Previant:

-- are the same.

They are actually the same that we're also able to translate and in the Nebraska Short Lines case, Local 524 (Inaudible).

The contract contains, among other things a provision called “protection of rights”, which provides that it shall not be a violation of the contract, and it shall not be cause for discharge if any employee or employees refuse to go through the picket line of the union, or refuse to handle unfair goods.

Incidentally I should say that, as many times and as many lawyers who have read the record in this case, I noticed for the first time last night that a very important word, the word “not” was omitted from the complaint as printed in the record but the contract clause itself is as I have read it, in the contract attached to the record and in the opinion of the Court itself that is quoted incorrectly as being, “It shall not be a violation of the contract”.

The record would indicate that it shall be a violation of the contract.

The validity of this clause incidentally has not been challenged in these proceedings.

The Riss & Company had a labor dispute with a local union in Philadelphia.

That local union sent its pickets to Louisville, to picket the Riss terminal there.

Exercising the right, assured to them by this contract provision to which I referred, these six petitioners, members of the union and employees of Riss refused to go through that picket line and they continued in such refusal for approximately three weeks.

It was in early 1960.

They then offered to return to work and presented themselves for work.

However, the company refused to permit them to return.

Accordingly, they filed a grievance under the provisions of this contract in which they sought reinstatement to their employment, wages from the time that they had offered to return to work and were refused such right to return, some vacation pay which had accumulated, and also requiring the employer to make certain contributions to a Health and Welfare Trust Fund which provided hospital and medical and sick benefits for the employees, and certain contributions to a Pension Trust Fund which provided pensions at age 60.