Retail Clerks International Association, Local Unions

PETITIONER: Retail Clerks
RESPONDENT: Lion Dry Goods
LOCATION: Allen-Bradley Clock Tower

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 369 US 17 (1962)
ARGUED: Jan 17, 1962
DECIDED: Feb 26, 1962

Facts of the case


Media for Retail Clerks International Association, Local Unions

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 17, 1962 (Part 1) in Retail Clerks International Association, Local Unions

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 17, 1962 (Part 2) in Retail Clerks International Association, Local Unions

Earl Warren:

Mr. Lippman, you may continue your argument.

S.g. Lippman:

Thank Your Honor, Mr. Chief Justice.

I'd like to point out another basic problem raised by the lower court's opinion.

The Court will observe that 301 is not limited to suits between employers and labor unions, but also provides for the enforcement of contracts between labor unions themselves.

The court of course disregarded that feature and in no ways seemed to be troubled by that aspect, but to me, it is a clear expression that Congress intended to cover the entire field of labor contracts which in anyway contribute to stability in Labor Affairs and indicated a broad concept must be given to the term labor contracts, and it was not to be a limited application and that it seems to me was quite indicative by the fact that Congress covered contracts between labor unions.

Another difficulty with the lower court's opinion, if I haven't said enough, is that the lower court would provide that every suit for the enforcement of a contract would inevitably raise a representation question as to whether or not, the union suing or being sued was in fact the bargaining agent and this --


S.g. Lippman:

Well, assuming that you have the recognition --


S.g. Lippman:

Well, if the -- if in fact it is a jurisdictional concept as the lower court holds, that you must be the exclusive bargaining agent, then jurisdiction cannot be granted surely by words, saying you are the exclusive bargaining agent.

At least this is one of the problems which has raised because you -- mind you, we're talking about --

I have difficulty with it (Inaudible).

S.g. Lippman:

-- yes.

I have difficulty with that too and -- but this is the problem which was raised and every enforcement proceeding could very well become converted into a representation proceeding to term with in fact, and of course this would definitely be in derogation of the Labor Board's processes to exclusively determine representation questions.

It seems to me that Congress was not concerned with any of these problems, but Congress was concerned with the idea of placing sanctions and behind agreements which carrying out any national labor policy and this is the way to settle disputes and if the federal court should be open to enforce these agreements and it was -- and it is a broad statute in that respect.

The lower court in no respect paid heed to what I believed to be national policy, which I believe is important in determining the scope of 301 questions of jurisdiction.

It made no reference to Lincoln Mills or Steelworkers cases.

It made no reference to the preamble of the Act.

It made no reference to the Norris-LaGuardia provisions and the policies involved there, encouraging the peaceful adjustment of disputes.

It made no record -- it made no reference to Title II of the Labor Act which sets up this entire complicated mediation and conciliation machinery, all devised to bring parties together to end labor disputes.

Indeed, it did not consider the concept of labor disputes.

It was a very narrow -- very narrow approach.

I would like -- for the next few minutes to meet and anticipate some of the arguments which I believe my opponent will raise to this Court.

When I, as he stated this brief, he takes the position that the stipulation which the parties entered into had a provision in it in which the parties agreed that there was no collective bargaining on an individual store basis and this demonstrates that in fact there was no collective bargaining.

Of course, it is conveniently overlooked that the last part of the stipulation provides that nothing herein shall exclude the courts from finding that the strike settlement agreement was in fact a collective bargaining agreement as to why the -- as to why there was any provision, respecting individual collective bargaining, I think is a matter of speculation.

The explanation perhaps is this.

In fact there was no individual bargaining, they bargained on a multiple employer basis.

The strike settlement was not negotiated with any particular individual employer, but was negotiated with several employers.

But in any event, I believe it is quite clear that what we have before us is a collective bargaining agreement and I think that the stipulation itself, the very last paragraph there, clearly indicates that nothing in the stipulation was to preclude the courts from finding that this was a collective bargaining agreement.

In that respect, I refer to page 41 of the transcript where it is specifically set forth saying, “Nothing in this paragraph is to preclude the courts from finding that the settlement of December 24th, 1958 was a collective bargaining agreement.”