United Mine Workers of America v. Gibbs

PETITIONER: United Mine Workers of America
RESPONDENT: Gibbs
LOCATION: South Carolina General Assembly

DOCKET NO.: 243
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 383 US 715 (1966)
ARGUED: Jan 20, 1966
DECIDED: Mar 28, 1966

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United Mine Workers of America v. Gibbs

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 20, 1966 in United Mine Workers of America v. Gibbs

Clarence Walker:

Mr. Justice Black, may it please the Court.

This case is here on certiorari to review the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' affirmation of a judgment entered by United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee against the United Mine -- international union -- United Mine Workers of America in the amount of $75,000 in favor of Paul Gibbs, an individual.

It was alleged that the United Mine Workers had violated Section 303 of the Taft-Hartley Act and of the common law of Tennessee.

The basic facts of this case are as follows.

Almost all of the coal lands in this mountainous area of Southern Tennessee is either owned or controlled by two major corporations.

One is the Tennessee Products and Chemical Company, the other is the Tennessee Consolidated Coal Company.

Each of these corporations operated to -- operated a large mine and each subcontracted or subleased other small truck mines on their land and they purchased the coal and then sold it mainly to the TBA.

And almost all if not all of the mines on -- in this area, on the lands of these two corporations was under contract with the United Mine Workers of America and had been for a number of years.

In the spring of 1960 the con -- Tennessee Consolidated canceled its contract with UMWA or that covered its large mine, it's Coal Valley Mine that it operated itself.

It sought then from UMW economic concessions and I think they describe it as a contract that they could live with.

These negotiations proved fruitful -- did not proved fruitful and the mine shutdown in March 15, 1960.

It had been apparent for a number of years that this Coal Valley Mine was working out and that they would have to make a new opening some place on their land and the Tennessee Consolidated officials had promised their old line employees that when they moved to a new area which was called the Gray's Creek area, that they would receive this employment, but failing in obtaining a new contract, Consolidated did something else.

They formed a -- the Grundy Mining Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary and placed in charge of that corporation its attorney and labor adviser, a man named of Justin Harwood.

The other officers of the Grundy Mining Corporation were the officers of the Tennessee Consolidated Coal Company.

Mr. Harwood then contacted the Southern Labor Union that operated in Northern Tennessee and a rival union to the United Mine Workers of America, after ascertaining that that contract would be satisfactory to Tennessee Consolidated and Grundy and that ascertaining that the Southern Labor Union would recruit miners or replacements to go to work in this new Gray's Creek area, he then contacted Paul Gibbs, the respondent here.

Paul Gibbs had operated several coal mines, not on Tennessee Consolidated land but on the -- its competitor, the Tennessee Products and Chemical Company, two small truck mines.

Gibbs also operated a fleet of eight trucks which he hauled the coal from his mine and from other mines in the area.

So on August the 12th, on the evening of August the 12th, Harwood called Mr. Gibbs and offered him a job as mine superintendent of these new mines that Grundy intended to open up in the Gray's Creek area at the rate of $600 per month.

In addition to that, he offered them a job at Mr. Gibbs' suggestion to haul coal from this mine at the rate of 78 cents per ton and this was agreed upon.

And Mr. Harwood then informed Gibbs that they would have employees in this Gray's Creek area on Monday morning and they were then to start opening these new mines.

Over the weekend, all of these was unbeknownst to the old Coal Valley employees or to the United Mine Workers of America.

And over the weekend after the telephone conversation, the word got out or at least rumors that Consolidated intended to open the new mines in the Gray's Creek area.

And on Sunday, UMW's Local Union 5881 held a special meeting in which these matters were discussed.

And from that meeting, several of the members decided to go to the Gray's Creek area on Monday morning to determine whether the rumors were correct.

The International Union or District 19 of the United Mine Workers representative in this area was named George Gilbert.

George Gilbert left Southern Tennessee to go to Middlesboro, Kentucky on Saturday to attend an executive board meeting of District 19 and did not know anything about these events.

On Monday morning Mr. Gibbs showed up early.

There he -- but there were no employees there.

The three members of this Local Union arrived and they inquired from Mr. Gibbs of whether or not this Gray's Creek area was to be opened up.

And he did -- he said that it was his understanding that it was or he heard something to that effect, but the recruited replacements or the -- that were to come in or take these jobs had lost their way.