Steelworkers of America v. American Manufacturing Company

PETITIONER: Steelworkers of America
RESPONDENT: American Manufacturing Company
LOCATION: Dry Docks at Reed, WV

DOCKET NO.: 360
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 363 US 564 (1960)
ARGUED: Apr 27, 1960
DECIDED: Jun 20, 1960

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Steelworkers of America v. American Manufacturing Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 27, 1960 (Part 1) in Steelworkers of America v. American Manufacturing Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 27, 1960 (Part 2) in Steelworkers of America v. American Manufacturing Company

Earl Warren:

Mr. Carriger, you may continue.

John S. Carriger:

Mr. Chief Justice and Members of the Court.

Mr. Chief Justice was asking at the noon recess, as to why this matter would not be determined by the arbitrators rather than being submitted through the court procedure.

And we believe that under Section 301 of the Labor Management Act, that -- and Congress had in mind that the courts, they're not the arbitrators based on contracts.

And that the courts determined the arbitrability.

Now, I don't have the say in his reply brief has --

Earl Warren:

But the arbitrability isn't in question in these cases, it -- it's a -- I thought it was -- isn't it conceded in this case that -- that, if there were substance to this particular claim, that it would be arbitrable, because it does affect conditions, isn't so --

John S. Carriger:

Yes.

Earl Warren:

-- working conditions (Voice Overlap) --

John S. Carriger:

For the determining whether or not arbitration is to be ordered by the court.

Earl Warren:

Yes.

But the Court just held that it was frivolous and therefore -- therefore, it shouldn't go before an arbitrator.

John S. Carriger:

That was -- I like the work baseless, that although in phrase, they've copied --

Earl Warren:

Well --

John S. Carriger:

-- the Court has used these -- the combination of terms that has been used in other courts and decisions.

But here what both Judge Darr, the district judge, and the Court of Appeals held in substance was that there was no evidence on which the arbitrators -- in other words, it was nothing for the arbitrators to arbitrate.

That it was so baseless and so clearly so.

And that in this case, where the burden was on the complainant to show some basis, some grounds for arbitration and where the complainant had failed to do so, although calling for the court to use the summary judgment procedure.

And yet then, simply bringing in a statement from a doctor, Dr. Kinsey, this man was able to go back to a job without injury to himself or others.

Now, as the Court of Appeals said, “That is not evidence, when you have in the record there on the summary judgment procedure.”

The statements of that same doctor may just, a week or -- or two weeks before, that this man is permanently disabled.

I'd like to read to the Court, very briefly, that statement from Dr. Kinsey, which appears in the record at page 54 and 55.

And this was is August of 1957.

“I believe his disability was 55% or 60% before surgery.

They -- the back operation moved a disc.

And I believe, it is approximately 25% of the present time.

I also believe that his partial permanent disability will remain at about 25%.

And it was on 25% that on September 9th, he received this and claimed this award for disability.”

Then a week later, he comes back and applies under the provision for reinstatement as employee and is turned down.

He does not avail himself.