RESPONDENT: International Longshoremen's Association
LOCATION: Mississippi University for Women
DOCKET NO.: 80-1045
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
CITATION: 457 US 702 (1982)
ARGUED: Jan 18, 1982
DECIDED: Jun 24, 1982
Ernest L. Mathews, Jr. - on behalf of the Respondents
Thomas P. Gies - on behalf of the Petitioners
Facts of the case
Media for Jacksonville Bulk Terminals, Inc. v. International Longshoremen's Association
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 18, 1982 in Jacksonville Bulk Terminals, Inc. v. International Longshoremen's Association
Warren E. Burger:
We will hear arguments next in Jacksonville Bulk Terminals against the International Longshoremen.
Thomas P. Gies:
Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:
This case concerns the propriety of an injunction issued by the District Court pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, to restrain a work stoppage in violation of the parties' collective bargaining agreement.
The reason for this work stoppage... the union's disapproval of Occidental's continuing trade with the Soviet Union after the invasion of Afghanistan... is the decisive fact in this case.
As I will develop this afternoon, it is the motivation for this work stoppage that makes this injunction fully warranted under Section 301, contrary to the decision of the Court of Appeals.
We submit very simply to this Court that Norris-LaGuardia does not apply in this case.
The admitted objective of the union's work stoppage has concededly and always been a purely political motivation.
The concern over the invasion of Afghanistan is not even remotely related to the union's status as employees.
Accordingly, that work stoppage is totally unrelated to the purposes of the Norris-LaGuardia Act.
The Court obviously has never held that Norris-LaGuardia protects purely political union work stoppages, and the cases construing Norris-LaGuardia, we submit, are clear.
What's the language of Norris-LaGuardia, labor disputes?
Thomas P. Gies:
Section 4 of Norris-LaGuardia, Your Honor, forbids federal courts to enter injunctions in labor disputes as defined elsewhere in that statute; and the labor dispute definition is defined broadly to include wages and terms and conditions with the purpose of assisting unions in organizing employees, and in engaging in collective bargaining, and for other mutual aid or protection.
And I submit that even under the broadest possible reading of the mutual aid and protection clause that it is clear that any effort by a union in order to be protected by Norris-LaGuardia must make some effort at improving the lot of the employees as employees; and that an objective that is purely political has absolutely no bearing under the Norris-LaGuardia Act.
I suppose it could reasonably be said that this would be against the interests of the employees because it would cut down their work.
Thomas P. Gies:
Indeed, Your Honor.
Not only against the interests of the employees, but the record is clear in this case that this is against the interests of the United States foreign policy.
And that provides another reason why the protections of Norris-LaGuardia should not be extended to a case of this kind.
In short, it is clear under Section 301 that unless this conduct is protected by Norris-LaGuardia, there is no serious obstacle to the injunction entered by the District Court.
It is only if the union can convince this Court to take what we submit to be a radical step in extending the scope of Norris-LaGuardia that there is any case here at all.
If Norris-LaGuardia does not apply, the ordinary equitable principles warranting an injunction were present in this case, and the injunction properly issued.
It is not sufficient, we submit, that there be an incidental work stoppage.
The objective of the union is the determinative factor for answering the question of whether or not Norris-LaGuardia applies.
There are strong policy reasons for not extending Norris-LaGuardia to cover a case like this.
This Court has recognized in the Eastex case and elsewhere that there are definite limits to protected activity that unions are entitled to engage in.
The Eastex case, of course, grew out of the National Labor Relations Act, which significantly, that contains the same definition of labor dispute as does Norris-LaGuardia.
Under this Court's decision in Eastex, recognizing that purely political conduct is not protected by Section 7, we think that it is equally clear that the conduct would not be protected by the Norris-LaGuardia Act.
A second aspect of policy that we think is very critical here is the national labor policy favoring industrial peace.
The major objective of Section 301, at least one of those objectives, was to permit enforcement of collective bargaining agreements containing no strike pledges.
Irrespective of the motivation for the work stoppage, we submit national labor policy favors industrial peace and favors enforcement of no strike provisions in collective bargaining agreements.