John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Livingston

PETITIONER: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
RESPONDENT: Livingston
LOCATION: Taylor Street Pharmacy

DOCKET NO.: 91
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 376 US 543 (1964)
ARGUED: Jan 09, 1964 / Jan 13, 1964
DECIDED: Mar 30, 1964

Facts of the case

Question

Media for John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Livingston

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 09, 1964 in John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Livingston

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 13, 1964 in John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Livingston

Earl Warren:

-- Incorporated, Petitioner, versus David Livingston.

Mr. Harris, you may proceed with your argument.

Thomas E. Harris:

May it please the Court.

I am appearing as counsel for the amicus, the AFL-CIO by courtesy of counsel for the respondent here.

I wish to address myself principally to the question whether Wiley is bound by the agreement to arbitrate under the collective bargaining agreement entered into between the union and Interscience.

Now, viewing this question simply as one of private contract law, Section 90 of the New York Stock Corporation Law with control and Wiley quite clearly, under that state statute, would be bound by the collective bargaining agreement, at least up until the point that it expire.

However, we agree with counsel for petitioner and with the court below that this is not a matter of state law, but of federal labor relations policy which is controlled by federal doctrine derived from the Labor Management Relations Act and decisions of the Board, and other sources.

While the state law might be taken over as a part of federal law, if it were given any effect, it would be by that sort of adoption rather than simply by its own standing.

In general, we think that the relations between an employer, a union, and the employees are not controlled either by state law nor yet by a private contract or agency law, but rather by the Labor Management Relations Act and the principles derived therefrom.

For this reason, a collective bargaining contract is quite different from an ordinary contract.

The union selected by a majority of the employees and an appropriate bargaining unit is by federal statute the exclusive bargaining representative of all of the employees.

It can bind dissenting employees, employees not yet fired and the employee here must deal with it whether the employer wishes to or not.

If the employer in the union reached agreement, they must embody that agreement in a written contract.

This contract in turn is binding on all employees including dissenters and people hired thereafter.

The opportunity of the employees to dispense for the one union as their collective bargaining representative and to supplant it with another is quite limited by a federal law.

The contract itself is not a simple private contract but a code for the industrial community.

As this Court said in Warrior & Gulf Navigation, it is an effort to erect a system of industrial self government.

Now, the National Labor Relations Act likewise regulates and in some detail, the rights of parties to collective bargaining agreements to terminate or modify them.

That regulation will be found in part in Section 8 (d).

Finally, the National Labor Relations Board doctrine likewise controls whether an employer must continue to deal with the union as the exclusive bargaining representative notwithstanding changes and the methods of an employer doing business as when the business is sold or when the method of operation has otherwise changed.

Now, the petitioner suggests that this body of Board doctrine as to when an employer or in what circumstances an employer must or need not continue to bargain with the union as exclusive bargaining representative, should also control whether an outstanding and unexpired collective bargaining agreement continues in effect.

We agree with the counsel for the petitioner that in general, this body of doctrine should control for this purpose.

Now, what is this body of doctrine?

In general it is that if the operation of the enterprise is so drastically changed that the old industrial community is dissolved.

The old bargaining unit then becomes inappropriate.

The employer has no further obligation to bargain with the union as exclusive bargaining representative in that unit.

Now, this -- this salute --

Byron R. White:

So, do you -- do you suggest that that event or that set of fact never came about at any point in this case?

Thomas E. Harris:

No, Your Honor and I will come to that.

We think it is quite clear that it did not come about for several months whether it ever came about, we don't know, but I will come to that in more detail.