RESPONDENT: National Labor Relations Board
LOCATION: Shell Lake, Wisconsin
DOCKET NO.: 81-1664
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
CITATION: 460 US 693 (1983)
ARGUED: Jan 11, 1983
DECIDED: Apr 04, 1983
Donald F. Sileo - for petitioner
Laurence J. Cohen - for respondent Local Union 563, IBEW
Norton J. Come - on behalf of Petitioner
Facts of the case
Media for Metropolitan Edison Company v. National Labor Relations BoardAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 11, 1983 in Metropolitan Edison Company v. National Labor Relations Board
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 04, 1983 in Metropolitan Edison Company v. National Labor Relations Board
Warren E. Burger:
The judgment and opinion of the Court in Metropolitan Edison Company against the National Labor Relations Board will be announced by Justice Powell.
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:
This is a case that comes to us from the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
It arises out of an unlawful work stoppage that occurred when employees of Metropolitan Edison Company, members of the Electrical Workers union refused to cross a picket line established by a different union.
The collective bargaining agreement contained a no-strike clause.
Officials of the company, relying on this clause demanded that the officers of the Electrical Workers union cross the picket line.
They declined to do so.
As a result of this refusal, the company imposed discipline on the Electrical Workers officers more severe than that imposed on whether union members who had participated in the unlawful work stoppage.
Meanwhile, the union officials had negotiated a settlement between the pickets and the company and this ended the unlawful strike.
The union then filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board charging that the company had discriminated against its officials in violation of Section 8(a)(3) of the Act.
The Board agreed and the Court of Appeals enforced the Board's order.
We also agree that in the absence of an explicit contractual duty, an employer may not assume that a union official has a duty to enforce a no-strike clause by complying with the employer's directions.
We think the Board's view that the enhanced penalty imposed on the union officials would violate Section 8(a)(3) is correct.
It is consistent with the principle that neither the representatives of management or of labor should be coerced in the performance of their official duties.
Although the union may waive this statutory protection, the bargaining agreement in this case does not establish clearly and unmistakably that the union intended to do so.
We therefore affirm unanimously the decision of the Court of Appeals.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Justice Powell.