San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon

PETITIONER: San Diego Building Trades Council
LOCATION: Roosevelt Bar and Tavern

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 359 US 236 (1959)
ARGUED: Jan 20, 1959
DECIDED: Apr 20, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 20, 1959 in San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon

Earl Warren:

Number 66, San Diego Building Trades Council, et cetera, Petitioners, versus, J. S. Garmon, et al.

Mr. Scully.

Charles P. Scully:

Mr. Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, may it please the Court.

This is the second occasion upon which this case is before this Court for consideration.

However, I believe that because of issues raised in the brief of respondent, it might be desirable to review very briefly the facts of the case and the determinations of law in the various courts prior to its appears again before this Court.

Now, we believe that the testimony discloses that the union presented a contract to the employer for its examination and advised that it would not request the employer to sign it until the employees joined or agreed to join the union.

And we believe that's verified by the record at page 96, 229, pages 231 and 232, 244, 265 and 309.

And we believe that the reference to page 309 is particularly pertinent because that is the testimony by the plaintiff in the case.

William O. Douglas:

That testimony showed what?

Charles P. Scully:

That they presented the contract to the employer for examination and that they stated they would not request him to sign it until the employees joined or agreed to join.

And I think it's critical because we believe that the case of Weber is applicable here and there has been a determination below by the trial court on other evidence binding contrary to this contention by the union.

And we've accordingly believed that the Court should be aware of the fact that there was evidence presented, that it -- in effect this was not a compulsion on the employer to coerce his employees but on the contrary that the union contacted the employees first and advised the employer they would not require him to sign until they agreed to join.

Felix Frankfurter:

Would you be good enough to state the case in -- in its chronological sequence so that one gets the full comfort of --

Charles P. Scully:

Yes, Your Honor.

Felix Frankfurter:

-- (Voice Overlap) significant in what you've just called our attention?

Charles P. Scully:

All right, Your Honor.

In that regard, then I think its desirable, Your Honor, to point out that with respect to the chronological order of the case that -- with respect to the issue that was involved in this case, the employers attorney testified that a -- a petition for representation was filed with the Board by mailing from San Diego to the Los Angeles office on May 7, 1953, that is page 191 of the record.

That on the same day, a complaint was filed in the Superior Court of San Diego and that is found at page 196 of the record.

That the complaint gave rise to injunctive relief and that thereafter, the regional office of the Board dismissed the petition for representation from which no appeal of any kind was taken and that the trial court then on the ground that there had been a violation of the National Act granted injunctive relief.

The union appealed to the District Court of Appeals of the State of California and I think it's interesting to know that in that appeal, in reversing the determination of the trial court, and this is at page 32 of the record.

The District Court of Appeal found that the picketing was without violence or a breach of peace and did not involve any secondary boycott.

That is at page 32 of the record.

The appeal was then taken from this decision of the District Court reversing the trial court to the Supreme Court of the State of California, which by four to three decision reversed the District Court and sustained the trial court and stated that although the Board concededly had primary jurisdiction, and this is at the record on page 46, and I'm now quoting, “There is no conflict of jurisdiction where the federal Board determines not to adjudicate the issue.”

And that is at page 48 of the record.

And accordingly, because of the letter from the regional office of the Board dismissing the petition on the ground that the amount of business was insufficient toward the exercise of jurisdiction by the Board, it admitted that under the state law, the concerted activity was a proper labor objective.

That's is at page 51 of the record.

But then held that the economic pressure to compel an employer to sign the type of agreement here involved is an unfair labor practice under Section 8 (b) (2) of the Taft-Hartley Act.

That's at page 52 of the record.

And so the first decision of the State Court of California was specifically on the ground that there was a violation of Section 8 (b) (2) of the Taft-Hartley Act and that the conduct was otherwise legal under the California law.

The case then came to this Court and this Court noted that the picketing was peaceful, that the plaintiffs had alleged a violation of the Taft-Hartley Act and together with Guss and Fairlawn reversed the decision with respect to the injunctive relief, reserved its decision as to the failure to exhaust administrative remedies on the ground that it was necessary to reach it and then stated that it did not reach the question of damages.