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United Steelworkers of America v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation Co.

Supreme Court of the United States

April 27, 1960, Argued ; June 20, 1960, Decided

No. 443

Opinion

 [*575]   [***1413]   [**1349]  Opinion of the Court by MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, announced by MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN.

Respondent transports steel and steel products by barge and maintains a terminal at Chickasaw, Alabama, where it performs maintenance and repair work on its barges. The employees at that terminal constitute a bargaining unit covered by a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by petitioner union. Respondent between 1956 and 1958 laid off some employees, reducing the bargaining unit from 42 to 23 men. This reduction was due in part to respondent contracting maintenance work, previously done by its employees, to other companies. The latter used respondent's supervisors to lay out the work and hired some of the laid-off employees of respondent (at reduced wages). Some [****4]  were in fact assigned to work on respondent's barges. A number of employees signed a grievance which petitioner presented to respondent, the grievance reading:

"We are hereby protesting the Company's actions, of arbitrarily and unreasonably contracting out work to other concerns, that could and previously has been performed by Company employees.

"This practice becomes unreasonable, unjust and discriminatory in lieu [sic] of the fact that at present  [*576]  there are a number of employees that have been laid off for about 1 and 1/2 years or more for allegedly lack of work.

"Confronted with these facts we charge that the Company is in violation of the contract by inducing a partial lock-out, of a number of the employees who would otherwise be working were it not for this unfair practice."

The collective agreement had both a "no strike" and a "no lockout" provision.  [***1414]  It also had a grievance procedure which provided in relevant part as follows:

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363 U.S. 574 *; 80 S. Ct. 1347 **; 4 L. Ed. 2d 1409 ***; 1960 U.S. LEXIS 1921 ****; 40 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P66,629; 46 L.R.R.M. 2416

UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA v. WARRIOR & GULF NAVIGATION CO.

Prior History:  [****1]  CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT.

Disposition:  269 F.2d 633, reversed.

CORE TERMS

arbitration, parties, contracting, grievance, courts, collective bargaining agreement, employees, matters, negotiations, contracting out work, subject to arbitration, grievance procedure, provisions, labor agreement, district court, plain language, bargaining, industrial, disputes, pledges, collective agreement, no-strike, shop, arbitration clause, common law, conditions, settlement, confined, repair, umpire

Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Enforcement of Bargaining Agreements, Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Contract Conditions & Provisions, Arbitration Clauses, Civil Procedure, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, General Overview, Labor Arbitration, Enforcement, Contracts Law, Strikes & Work Stoppages, Arbitration Coverage Limits