Textile Workers Union of America v. Lincoln Mills of Alabama

PETITIONER: Textile Workers Union of America
RESPONDENT: Lincoln Mills of Alabama
LOCATION: Quality Photo Shop

DOCKET NO.: 211
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 353 US 448 (1957)
ARGUED: Mar 25, 1957
DECIDED: Jun 03, 1957

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Textile Workers Union of America v. Lincoln Mills of Alabama

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 25, 1957 (Part 1) in Textile Workers Union of America v. Lincoln Mills of Alabama

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 25, 1957 (Part 2) in Textile Workers Union of America v. Lincoln Mills of Alabama

Earl Warren:

You proceed, Mr. Goldberg.

Arthur J. Goldberg:

When we recessed for lunch, I was dealing with the question of section 301.

Now, I must say in all candor that the congressional history with respect to this subject is very, very confusing indeed.Congress was dealing in this area largely with the objections that had been made that unions cannot be sued.

However, in formulating the legislation which probably in this instance is the most reliable guide it was not confined to suits against unions for damages which is the subject most discussed.

It was as the statute itself plainly indicates, a statute governing suits by one against the other be irrespective of whether the plaintiff was union or defendant.

And in fact, there are community reports in reporting this legislation which indicate that very clearly.

And it would be hard to believe that Congress in enacting a statute of this type would confine itself to a -- a piece of legislation that would operate only on one side of the street.

And I must conclude from --

Felix Frankfurter:

But they didn't any legislation to operate on the other?

Arthur J. Goldberg:

They operate on the other --

Felix Frankfurter:

They did not need any legislation to operate on the other.

Arthur J. Goldberg:

They need a legislation to bring the cases in the federal court.

Felix Frankfurter:

So, I mean, they didn't need legislation to get at the corporation.

Arthur J. Goldberg:

Correct.

They could be sued.

But, of course, they could not necessarily be sued in the federal court.

Then it would depend upon other --

Felix Frankfurter:

The fact that it had both here shed no light on what the subject matter is.

Arthur J. Goldberg:

Except the language that the Congress used in their committee reports does shed some light that there was a mutuality of approach with respect to bringing both people into the federal court and subjecting them to the jurisdiction of the federal court.

Felix Frankfurter:

That was the whole point of the legislation.

That was the whole point that you could bring corporations in and you couldn't bring at least subject to great difficulty, you couldn't bring in unincorporated association.

That's the whole point of it.

Arthur J. Goldberg:

The -- the focus of the debate, I will agree, related to the suability of unions.

But on the other hand, the reports made by the congressional committees and what we must assume -- and I think quite properly, is their instinct to fairness would be to subject them to sue in the same form.

This is the conclusion that I must come to reading the reports of the committee relating to this particular subject.

Felix Frankfurter:

But it doesn't shed the slightest light on suits for one.

Arthur J. Goldberg:

It does not.

It return -- it is in terms of suits but what does shed light on this particular subject is the whole framework of the labor relations policy of the United States, because it is often forgotten, and we lawyers, perhaps more than others, are guilty of this omission.

Section 301 was part of the Labor Management Relations Act and is a provision of the Act designed to implement the basic philosophy of the statute.

And the basic philosophy of the statute is that it contributes to industrial stability to have collective bargaining.