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Supreme Court of the United States
January 21, 1965, Argued ; March 29, 1965, Decided
[*301] [***857] [**958] MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.
The American Ship Building Company seeks review of a decision of the United States Court of Appeals [***858] for the District of Columbia Circuit enforcing an order of the National Labor Relations Board which found that the company had committed an unfair labor practice under §§ 8 (a)(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act. 1 [****4] The [****3] question presented is that expressly reserved in Labor Board v. Truck Drivers Local Union, 353 U.S. 87, 93; namely, whether an employer commits an [**959] unfair labor practice under these sections of the Act when he temporarily lays off or "locks out" his employees during a labor dispute to bring economic pressure in support of [*302] his bargaining position. To resolve an asserted conflict among the circuits 2 upon this important question of federal labor law we granted certiorari, 379 U.S. 814.
The American Ship Building Company operates four shipyards on the Great Lakes -- at Chicago, at Buffalo, and at Toledo and Lorain, Ohio. The company is primarily engaged in the repairing of ships, a highly seasonal business concentrated in the winter months when the freezing of the Great Lakes renders shipping impossible. What limited business is obtained during the shipping season is frequently such that speed of execution is of the utmost importance to minimize immobilization of the ships.
Since 1952 the employer has engaged in collective bargaining with a group of eight unions. Prior to the negotiations here in question, [****5] the employer had contracted with the unions on five occasions, each agreement having been preceded by a strike. The particular chapter of the collective bargaining history with which we are concerned opened shortly before May 1, 1961, when the unions notified the company of their intention to seek modification of the current contract, due to expire on August 1.
At the initial bargaining meeting on June 6, 1961, the company took the position that its competitive situation would not allow increased compensation. The unions countered with demands for increased fringe benefits and some unspecified wage increase. Several meetings were held in June and early July during which negotiations focussed upon the fringe benefit questions without any substantial progress. At the last meeting, the parties resolved to call in the Federal Mediation and Conciliation [*303] Service, which set the next meeting for July 19. At [***859] this meeting, the unions first unveiled their demand for a 20-cents-an-hour wage increase and proposed a six-month extension of the contract pending continued negotiations. The employer rejected the proposed extension because it would have led to expiration [****6] during the peak season.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
380 U.S. 300 *; 85 S. Ct. 955 **; 13 L. Ed. 2d 855 ***; 1965 U.S. LEXIS 2310 ****; 51 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P19,594; 58 L.R.R.M. 2672; 65 Labor Relations Fed. & State (P-H) 92695; 15 Ct. Dec. Relating N.L.R.A. 929
AMERICAN SHIP BUILDING CO. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.
Disposition: 118 U. S. App. D. C. 78, 331 F.2d 839, reversed.
lockout, employees, bargaining, negotiations, yard, ships, collective bargaining, motivation, customers, lock, discourage, season, demands, cases, impasse, Relations, expired, weapons, union membership, antiunion, bargaining position, strikes, right to strike, decisions, terms, unfair labor practice, work stoppage, replacements, parties, layoff
Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Unfair Labor Practices, General Overview, Right to Organize, Business & Corporate Compliance, Labor & Employment Law, Duty to Bargain, Strikes & Work Stoppages, Employer Violations, Interference With Protected Activities, Labor Arbitration, Discipline, Layoffs & Terminations, Judicial Review, Bankruptcy Law, Procedural Matters, Jurisdiction, Protected Activities, Bargaining Subjects, Impasse Resolution