RESPONDENT:Ring Screw Works, Ferndale Fastener Division
LOCATION:Ray Brook Federal Correctional Institution
DOCKET NO.: 89-1166
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1990-1991)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
CITATION: 498 US 168 (1990)
ARGUED: Oct 10, 1990
DECIDED: Dec 10, 1990
Laurence E. Gold – on behalf of the Petitioners
Terence V. Page – on behalf of the Respondent
Media for Groves v. Ring Screw Works, Ferndale Fastener Division
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – December 10, 1990 in Groves v. Ring Screw Works, Ferndale Fastener Division
William H. Rehnquist:
I have the opinion of the Court to announce in No. 89-1166, Groves versus Ring Screw Works.
In this case, the petitioners were discharged from their jobs and they claimed that the discharge has violated their collective bargaining agreements.
These agreements contained a voluntary grievance procedure, but the agreement said nothing about possible judicial remedies.
The question presented by this case is whether if these grievance procedures are unsuccessful, the contract should be construed to bar recourse to the court under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act.
In this case, the procedures fail to resolve the parties’ dispute.
And after the company had decided not to request arbitration and the Union had decided not to strike, the petitioners filed this action invoking the Federal Court jurisdiction under Section 301.
In an opinion authored by Justice Stevens and filed with the Clerk today, we conclude that petitioners are not precluded from pursuing the judicial remedy because the collective bargaining agreements did not explicitly foreclose such a remedy.
The parties are free to decide the means by which to resolve their dispute, and such means can include economic sanction such as strikes or lockouts.
Where the parties have failed to specify the method of their final resolution in the collective bargaining agreement, we will not construe those agreements as such silence in effect to foreclose access to the courts.
Our opinion in this case is unanimous.