This suit under § 301 (a) of the Labor Management Relations Act,
1947, was brought by an employer to enjoin work stoppages, strikes,
peaceful picketing and similar activities by labor unions and their
officers and members, allegedly in violation of a collective
bargaining agreement containing a no-strike clause and providing a
grievance procedure culminating in compulsory, final and binding
arbitration of "any difference regarding wages, hours or working
such an injunction was barred by §4 of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act, which, with exceptions not here material,
bars federal courts from issuing injunctions "in any case involving
or growing out of any labor dispute." Pp. 370 U. S.
(a) This case involved a "labor dispute" within the meaning of
the Norris-LaGuardia Act -- even if the alleged work stoppages and
strikes constituted breaches of a collective bargaining agreement.
Pp. 370 U. S.
(b) The subsequent enactment of § 301 of the Labor Management
Relations Act, 1947, authorizing suits in federal courts "for
violation of contracts between an employer and a labor
organization" has not so narrowed the provisions of § 4 of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act as to permit the injunctions originally
proscribed thereby when such injunctions are sought as remedies for
breaches of a collective bargaining agreement. Pp. 370 U. S.
(c) Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Chicago R. & I.
R. Co., 353 U. S. 30
Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.
; United Steelworkers v. American Mfg.
Co., 363 U. S. 564
United Steelworkers v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation Co.,
363 U. S. 574
United Steelworkers v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp.,
363 U. S. 593
distinguished. Pp. 370 U. S.
(d) Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947,
presents no real conflict with the anti-injunction provisions of
the Norris-LaGuardia Act. Pp. 370 U. S.
290 F.2d 312 affirmed.
Page 370 U. S. 196
MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question this case presents is whether § 301 of the
Taft-Hartley Act, in giving federal courts jurisdiction of suits
between employers and unions for breach of collective bargaining
agreements, [Footnote 1
impliedly repealed § 4 of the preexisting Norris-LaGuardia Act,
which, with certain exceptions not here material, barred federal
courts from issuing injunctions "in any case involving or growing
out of any labor dispute." [Footnote 2
Page 370 U. S. 197
The complaint here was filed by the petitioner Sinclair Refining
Company against the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International
Union and Local 7-210 of that union and alleged: that the
International Union, acting by and with the authority of the Local
Union and its members, signed a written collective bargaining
contract with Sinclair which provided for compulsory, final and
binding arbitration of
"any difference regarding wages, hours or working conditions
between the parties hereto or between the Employer and an employee
covered by this working agreement which might arise within any
plant or within any region of operations;"
that this contract also included express provisions by which the
unions agreed that "there shall be no slowdowns for any reason
whatsoever" and "no strikes or work stoppages . . . [f]or any cause
which is or may be the subject of a grievance"; and that,
notwithstanding these promises in the collective bargaining
contract, the members of Local 7-210 had, over a period of some 19
months, engaged in work stoppages and strikes on nine separate
occasions, each of which, the complaint charged, grew out of a
grievance which could have been submitted to arbitration under the
contract and therefore fell squarely within the unions' promises
not to strike. This pattern of repeated, deliberate violations of
the contract, Sinclair alleged, indicated a complete disregard on
the part of the unions for their obligations under the contract and
a probability that they would continue to "subvert the provisions
of the contract" forbidding strikes over grievances in the future
unless they were enjoined from doing so. In this situation,
Sinclair claimed, there was no adequate remedy at law which would
protect its contractual rights, and the court should therefore
enter orders enjoining the unions and their agents
"preliminarily at first, and thereafter permanently, from
aiding, abetting, fomenting, advising, participating in, ratifying,
or condoning any strike, stoppage of work,
Page 370 U. S. 198
slowdown or any other disruption of, or interference with normal
employment or normal operation or production by any employee within
the bargaining unit at plaintiff's East Chicago, Indiana refinery
covered by the contract between the parties dated August 8, 1957,
in support of, or because of, any matter or thing which is, or
could be, the subject of a grievance under the grievance procedure
of the said contract, or any extension thereof, or any other
contract between the parties which shall contain like or similar
provisions. [Footnote 3
The unions moved to dismiss this complaint on the ground that it
sought injunctive relief which United States courts, by virtue of
the Norris-LaGuardia Act, have no jurisdiction to give. The
District Court first denied the motion, but subsequently, upon
reconsideration after full oral argument, vacated its original
order and granted the unions' motion to dismiss. [Footnote 4
] In reaching this conclusion, the
District Court reasoned that the controversy between Sinclair and
the unions was unquestionably a "labor dispute" within the meaning
of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, and that the complaint therefore came
within the proscription of § 4 of that Act, which
"withdraws jurisdiction from the federal courts to issue
injunctions to prohibit the refusal 'to perform work or remain in
any relation of employment' in cases involving any
dispute. [Footnote 5
The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the order
of dismissal for the same reasons. [Footnote 6
] Because this decision presented a conflict
with the decision
Page 370 U. S. 199
on this same important question by the Court of Appeals for the
Tenth Circuit, [Footnote 7
granted certiorari. [Footnote
We agree with the courts below that this case does involve a
"labor dispute" within the meaning of the Norris-LaGuardia Act.
Section 13 of that Act expressly defines a labor dispute as
"any controversy concerning terms or conditions of employment,
or concerning the association or representation of persons in
negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange
terms or conditions of employment, regardless of whether or not the
disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and
employee. [Footnote 9
Sinclair's own complaint shows quite plainly that each of the
alleged nine work stoppages and strikes arose out of a controversy
which was unquestionably well within this definition. [Footnote 10
Page 370 U. S. 200
Nor does the circumstance that the alleged work stoppages and
strikes may have constituted a breach of a collective bargaining
agreement alter the plain fact that a "labor dispute" within the
meaning of the Norris-LaGuardia Act is involved. Arguments to the
contrary proceed from the premise that § 2 of that Act, which
Page 370 U. S. 201
expresses the public policy upon which the specific
anti-injunction provisions of the Act were based, contains language
indicating that one primary concern of Congress was to insure
workers the right "to exercise actual liberty of contract" and to
protect "concerted activities for the purpose of collective
bargaining." [Footnote 11
From that premise, Sinclair argues that an interpretation of the
term "labor dispute" so as to include a dispute arising out of a
union's refusal to abide by the terms of a collective agreement to
which it freely acceded is to apply the Norris-LaGuardia Act in a
way that defeats one of the purposes for which it was enacted. But
this argument, though forcefully urged both here and in much
current commentary on this question, [Footnote 12
] rests more upon considerations of what
Page 370 U. S. 202
commentators think would be the more desirable industrial and
labor policy in view of their understanding as to the prevailing
circumstances of contemporary labor-management relations than upon
what is a correct judicial interpretation of the language of the
Act as it was written by Congress.
In the first place, even the general policy declarations of § 2
of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which are the foundation of this whole
argument, do not support the conclusion urged. That section does
not purport to limit the Act to the protection of collective
bargaining but, instead, expressly recognizes the need of the
anti-injunction provisions to insure the right of workers to engage
in "concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining
or other mutual aid or protection." Moreover, the language of the
specific provisions of the Act is so broad and inclusive that it
leaves not the slightest opening for reading in any exceptions
beyond those clearly written into it by Congress itself. [Footnote 13
Page 370 U. S. 203
We cannot ignore the plain import of a congressional enactment,
particularly one which, as we have repeatedly said, was
deliberately drafted in the broadest of terms in order to avoid the
danger that it would be narrowed by judicial construction.
Since we hold that the present case does grow out of a "labor
dispute," the injunction sought here runs squarely counter to the
proscription of injunctions against strikes contained in § 4(a) of
the Norris-LaGuardia Act, to the proscription of injunctions
against peaceful picketing contained in § 4(e) and to the
proscription of injunctions prohibiting the advising of such
activities contained in § 4(i). [Footnote 15
] For these reasons, the Norris-LaGuardia Act
deprives the courts of the United States of jurisdiction to enter
that injunction unless, as is contended here, the scope of that Act
has been so narrowed by the subsequent enactment of § 301 of the
Taft-Hartley Act that it no longer prohibits even the injunctions
specifically described in § 4 where such injunctions are sought as
a remedy for breach of a collective bargaining agreement. Upon
consideration, we cannot agree with that view, and agree instead
with the view expressed by the courts below and supported by the
Courts of Appeals for the First and Second Circuits that § 301 was
not intended to have any such partially repealing effect upon such
a long-standing, carefully thought out, and highly significant part
of this country's labor legislation as the Norris-LaGuardia Act.
Page 370 U. S. 204
The language of § 301 itself seems to us almost, if not
entirely, conclusive of this question. It is especially significant
that the section contains no language that could by any stretch of
the imagination be interpreted to constitute an explicit repeal of
the anti-injunction provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act in view
of the fact that the section does expressly repeal another
provision of the Norris-LaGuardia Act dealing with union
responsibility for the acts of agents. [Footnote 17
] If Congress had intended that § 301 suits
should also not be subject to the anti-injunction provisions of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act, it certainly seems likely that it would have
made its intent known in this same express manner. That is indeed
precisely what Congress did do in § 101, amending § 10(h) of the
National Labor Relations Act, and § 208(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act,
by permitting injunctions to be obtained not by private litigants,
but only at the instance of the National Labor Relations Board and
the Attorney General, [Footnote
Page 370 U. S. 205
and in § 302(e), by permitting private litigants to obtain
injunctions in order to protect the integrity of employees'
collective bargaining representatives in carrying out their
] Thus, the failure of Congress to include a provision in §
301 expressing repealing the anti-injunction provisions of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act must be evaluated in the context of a
statutory pattern that indicates not only that Congress was
completely familiar with those provisions, but also that it
regarded an express declaration of inapplicability as the normal
and proper manner of repealing them in situations where such repeal
When the inquiry is carried beyond the language of § 301 into
its legislative history, whatever small doubts as to the
congressional purpose could have survived consideration of the bare
language of the section should be wholly dissipated. For the
legislative history of § 301 shows that Congress actually
considered the advisability of repealing the Norris-LaGuardia Act
insofar as suits based upon breach of collective bargaining
agreements are concerned and deliberately chose not to do so.
Page 370 U. S. 206
section as eventually enacted was the product of a conference
between Committees of the House and Senate, selected to resolve the
difference between conflicting provisions of the respective bills
each had passed. Prior to this conference, the House bill had
provided for federal jurisdiction of suits for breach of collective
bargaining contracts, and had expressly declared that the
Norris-LaGuardia Act's anti-injunction provisions would not apply
to such suits. [Footnote 21
The bill passed by the Senate, like the House bill, granted federal
courts jurisdiction over suits for breach of such agreements, but
it did not, like the House bill, make the Norris-LaGuardia Act's
prohibition against injunctions inapplicable to such suits.
] Instead, it
made breach of a collective agreement an unfair labor practice.
] Under the
Senate version, therefore, a breach
Page 370 U. S. 207
of a collective bargaining agreement, like any unfair labor
practice, could have been enjoined by a suit brought by the
National Labor Relations Board, [Footnote 24
] but no provision of the Senate version would
have permitted the issuance of an injunction in a labor dispute at
the suit of a private party. At the conference, the provision of
the House bill expressly repealing the anti-injunction provisions
of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, as well as the provision of the bill
passed by the Senate declaring the breach of a collective agreement
to be an unfair labor practice, was dropped, and never became law.
Instead, the conferees, as indicated by the provision which came
out of the conference and eventually became § 301, agreed that
suits for breach of such agreements should remain wholly private,
and "be left to the usual processes of the law," [Footnote 25
] and that, in view of the fact
that these suits would be at the instance of private parties,
rather than at the instance of the Labor Board, no change in the
existing anti-injunction provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act
should be made. The House Conference Report expressly recognized
that the House provision for repeal in contract actions of the
anti-injunction prohibitions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act had been
eliminated in Conference:
"Section 302(e) of the House bill made the Norris-LaGuardia Act
inapplicable in actions and proceedings involving violations of
agreements between an employer and a labor organization. Only part
of this provision is included in the conference agreement. Section
6 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act provides that no employer or labor
Page 370 U. S. 208
participating or interested in a labor dispute shall be held
responsible for the unlawful acts of their agents except upon clear
proof of actual authorization of such acts, or ratification of such
acts after actual knowledge thereof. This provision in the
Norris-LaGuardia Act was made inapplicable under the House bill.
Section 301(e) of the conference agreement provides that, for the
purposes of section 301, in determining whether any person is
acting as an agent of another so as to make such other person
responsible for his actions, the question of whether the specific
acts performed were actually authorized or subsequently ratified
shall not be controlling. [Footnote 26
And Senator Taft, Chairman of the Conference Committee and one
of the authors of this legislation that bore his name, was no less
explicit in explaining the results of the Conference to the Senate:
"The conferees . . . rejected the repeal of the Norris-LaGuardia
Act." [Footnote 27
Page 370 U. S. 209
We cannot accept the startling argument made here that, even
though Congress did not itself want to repeal the Norris-LaGuardia
Act, it was willing to confer a power upon the courts to
"accommodate" that Act out of existence whenever they might find it
expedient to do so in furtherance of some policy they had fashioned
under § 301. The unequivocal statements in the House Conference
Report and by Senator Taft on the floor of the Senate could only
have been accepted by the Congressmen and Senators who read or
heard them as assurances that they could vote in favor of § 301
without altering, reducing, or impairing in any manner the
anti-injunction provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act. This is
particularly true of the statement of Senator Taft, a man generally
regarded in the Senate as a very able lawyer and one upon whom the
Senate could rely for accurate, forthright explanations of
legislation with which he was connected. Senator Taft was, of
course, entirely familiar with the prohibitions of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act and the impact those prohibitions would have
upon the enforcement under § 301 of all related contractual
provisions, including contractual provisions dealing with
arbitration. If, as this argument suggests, the intention of
Congress in enacting § 301 was to clear the way for judicial
obliteration of that Act under the soft euphemism of
"accommodation," Senator Taft's flat statement that the Conference
had rejected the repeal of the Norris-LaGuardia Act could only be
regarded as disingenuous. We cannot impute any such intention to
Moreover, we think that the idea that § 301 sanctions piecemeal
judicial repeal of the Norris-LaGuardia Act requires acceptance of
a wholly unrealistic view of the manner in which Congress handles
its business. The
Page 370 U. S. 210
question of whether existing statutes should be continued in
force or repealed is, under our system of government, one which is
wholly within the domain of Congress. When the repeal of a highly
significant law is urged upon that body and that repeal is rejected
after careful consideration and discussion, the normal expectation
is that courts will be faithful to their trust and abide by that
decision. This is especially so where the fact of the controversy
over repeal and the resolution of that controversy in Congress
plainly appears in the formal legislative history of its
proceedings. [Footnote 28
Indeed, not a single instance has been called to our attention in
which a carefully considered and rejected proposal for repeal has
been revived and adopted by this Court under the guise of
"accommodation" or any other pseudonym.
Nor have we found anything else in the previous decisions of
this Court that would indicate that we should disregard all this
overwhelming evidence of a congressional intent to retain
completely intact the anti-injunction prohibitions of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act in suits brought under § 301. Brotherhood
of Railroad Trainmen v. Chicago River & Indiana R. Co.,
] upon which
Page 370 U. S. 211
its primary reliance, is distinguishable on several grounds.
There, we were dealing with a strike called by the union in
defiance of an affirmative duty, imposed upon the union by the
Railway Labor Act itself, compelling unions to settle disputes as
to the interpretation of an existing collective bargaining
agreement, not by collective union pressures on the railroad, but
by submitting them to the Railroad Adjustment Board as the
exclusive means of final determination of such "minor" disputes.
] Here, on the
other hand, we are dealing with a suit under a quite different law
which does not itself compel a particular, exclusive method for
settling disputes nor impose any requirement, either upon unions or
employers, or upon the courts, that is in any way inconsistent with
a continuation of the Norris-LaGuardia Act's proscription of
federal labor injunctions against strikes and peaceful picketing.
In addition, in Chicago River,
we were dealing with a
statute that had a far different legislative history than the one
now before us. Thus, there was no indication in the legislative
history of the Railway Labor Act, as there is in the history of §
301, that Congress had, after full debate and careful consideration
by both Houses and in Joint Conference, specifically rejected
proposals to make the prohibitions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act
inapplicable. Indeed, the Court was able to conclude in Chicago
"that there was general understanding between both the
supporters and the opponents of the 1934 amendment that the
provisions dealing with the Adjustment Board were to be considered
as compulsory arbitration in this limited field. [Footnote 31
And certainly no one could
Page 370 U. S. 212
contend that § 301 was intended to set up any such system of
"compulsory arbitration" as the exclusive method for settling
grievances under the Taft-Hartley Act.
Textile Workers Union v. Lincoln Mills,
] upon which some lesser
reliance is placed, is equally distinguishable. There, the Court
held merely that it did not violate the anti-injunction provisions
of the Norris-LaGuardia Act to compel the parties to a collective
bargaining agreement to submit a dispute which had arisen under
that agreement to arbitration where the agreement itself required
arbitration of the dispute. In upholding the jurisdiction of the
federal courts to issue such an order against a challenge based
upon the Norris-LaGuardia Act, the Court pointed out that the
equitable relief granted in that case -- a mandatory injunction to
carry out an agreement to arbitrate -- did not enjoin any one of
the kinds of conduct which the specific prohibitions of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act withdrew from the injunctive powers of United
States courts. [Footnote 33
An injunction against work stoppages, peaceful picketing or the
nonfraudulent encouraging of those activities would, however,
prohibit the precise kinds of conduct which subsections (a), (e)
and (i) of § 4 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act unequivocally say cannot
be prohibited. [Footnote
Page 370 U. S. 213
Nor can we agree with the argument made in this Court that the
decision in Lincoln Mills,
as implemented by the
subsequent decisions in United Steelworkers v. American
] United Steelworkers v. Warrior &
Gulf Navigation Co.,
] and United Steelworkers v. Enterprise
Wheel & Car Corp.,
] requires us to reconsider and overrule the
action of Congress in refusing to repeal or modify the controlling
commands of the Norris-LaGuardia Act. To the extent that those
cases relied upon the proposition that the arbitration process is
"a kingpin of federal labor policy," we think that proposition was
founded not upon the policy predilections of this Court, but upon
what Congress said and did when it enacted § 301. Certainly we
cannot accept any suggestion which would undermine those cases by
implying that the Court went beyond its proper power and itself
"forged . . . a kingpin of federal labor policy" inconsistent with
that section and its purpose. Consequently, we do not see how cases
implementing the purpose of § 301 can be said to have freed this
Court from its duty to give effect to the plainly expressed
congressional purpose with regard to the continued application of
the anti-injunction provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act. The
argument to the contrary seems to rest upon the notion that
injunctions against peaceful strikes are necessary to make the
arbitration process effective. But, whatever might be said about
the merits of this argument, Congress has itself rejected it. In
doing so, it set the limit to which it was willing to go in
permitting courts to effectuate the congressional policy favoring
arbitration, and it is not this Court's business to review the
wisdom of that decision.
The plain fact is that § 301, as passed by Congress, presents no
conflict at all with the anti-injunction provisions of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act. Obedience to the congressional
Page 370 U. S. 214
commands of the Norris-LaGuardia Act does not directly affect
the "congressional policy in favor of the enforcement of agreements
to arbitrate grievance disputes" [Footnote 38
] at all, for it does not impair the right of
an employer to obtain an order compelling arbitration of any
dispute that may have been made arbitrable by the provisions of an
effective collective bargaining agreement. At the most, what is
involved is the question of whether the employer is to be allowed
to enjoy the benefits of an injunction along with the right which
Congress gave him in § 301 to sue for breach of a collective
agreement. And, as we have already pointed out, Congress was not
willing to insure that enjoyment to an employer at the cost of
putting the federal courts back into the business of enjoining
strikes and other related peaceful union activities.
It is doubtless true, as argued, that the right to sue which §
301 gives employers would be worth more to them if they could also
get a federal court injunction to bar a breach of their collective
bargaining agreements. Strong arguments are made to us that it is
highly desirable that the Norris-LaGuardia Act be changed in the
public interest. If that is so, Congress itself might see fit to
change that law and repeal the anti-injunction provisions of the
Act insofar as suits for violation of collective agreements are
concerned, as the House bill under consideration originally
provided. It might, on the other hand, decide that, if injunctions
are necessary, the whole idea of enforcement of these agreements by
private suits should be discarded in favor of enforcement through
the administrative machinery of the Labor Board, as Senator Taft
provided in his Senate bill. Or it might decide that neither of
these methods is entirely satisfactory, and turn instead to a
completely new approach. The question of what
Page 370 U. S. 215
change, if any, should be made in the existing law is one of
legislative policy properly within the exclusive domain of Congress
-- it is a question for lawmakers, not law interpreters. Our task
is the more limited one of interpreting the law as it now stands.
In dealing with problems of interpretation and application of
federal statutes, we have no power to change deliberate choices of
legislative policy that Congress has made within its constitutional
powers. Where congressional intent is discernible -- and here it
seems crystal clear -- we must give effect to that intent.
The District Court was correct in dismissing Count 3 of
petitioner's complaint for lack of jurisdiction under the
Norris-LaGuardia Act. The judgment of the Court of Appeals
affirming that order is therefore
MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER took no part in the consideration or
decision of this case.
"Suits for violation of contracts between an employer and a
labor organization representing employees in an industry affecting
commerce as defined in this chapter, or between any such labor
organizations may be brought in any district court of the United
States having jurisdiction of the parties, without respect to the
amount in controversy or without regard to the citizenship of the
61 Stat. 156, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a).
"No court of the United States shall have jurisdiction to issue
any restraining order or temporary or permanent injunction in any
case involving or growing out of any labor dispute to prohibit any
person or persons participating or interested in such dispute (as
these terms are herein defined) from doing, whether singly or in
concert, any of the following acts:"
"(a) Ceasing or refusing to perform any work or to remain in any
relation of employment;"
"* * * *"
"(e) Giving publicity to the existence of, or the facts involved
in, any labor dispute, whether by advertising, speaking,
patrolling, or by any other method not involving fraud or
"* * * *"
"(i) Advising, urging, or otherwise causing or inducing without
fraud or violence the acts heretofore specified. . . ."
47 Stat. 70, 29 U.S.C. § 104.
The suit filed by Sinclair was in three counts, only one of
which, Count 3, is involved in this case. Counts 1 and 2, upon
which Sinclair prevailed below, are also before the Court in No.
430. See Atkinson v. Sinclair Refining Co., post,
370 U. S. 238
290 F.2d 312.
Chauffeurs, Teamsters & Helpers Local No. 795 v. Yellow
Transit Freight Lines,
282 F.2d 345. Both the First and the
Second Circuits have also considered this question, and both have
taken the same position as that taken below. See W. L. Mead,
Inc. v. Teamsters Local No. 25,
217 F.2d 6; Alcoa S.S. Co.
173 F.2d 567; In re Third Ave. Transit
192 F.2d 971; A. H. Bull Steamship Co. v.
Seafarers' International Union,
250 F.2d 326.
368 U.S. 937.
47 Stat. 73, 29 U.S.C. § 113.
The allegations of the complaint with regard to the nine
occurrences in question are as follows:
"(a) On or about July 1, 1957, six employees assigned to the
#810 Crude Still stopped work in support of an asserted grievance
involving the removal of Shift Machinists from the #810 Still
"(b) On or about September 17, 1957, all employees employed in
the Mason Department refused to work on any shift during the entire
day; the entire Mechanical Department refused to work from
approximately noon until midnight; the employees of the Barrel
House refused to work from the middle of the afternoon until
midnight; a picket line was created which prevented operators from
reporting to work on the 4:00 P.M. to midnight shift, all in
support of an asserted grievance on behalf of five apprentice
masons for whom insufficient work was available to permit their
retention at craft levels."
"(c) On or about March 28, 1958, approximately 73 employees in
the Rigging Department refused to work for approximately one hour
in support of an asserted grievance that riggers were entitled to
do certain work along with machinists."
"(d) On or about May 20, 1958, approximately 24 employees in the
Rigging Department refused to work for 1 3/4 hours in support of an
asserted grievance that riggers were entitled to do certain work
along with boilermakers."
"(e) On or about September 11, 1958, approximately 24 employees
in the Rigging Department refused to work for approximately two
hours in support of an asserted grievance that pipefitters could
not dismantle and remove certain pipe coils without riggers being
employed on the said work also."
"(f) On or about October 6 and 7, 1958, approximately 43
employees in the Cranes and Trucks Department refused to work for
approximately eight hours in support of an asserted grievance
concerning employment by the Company of an independent contractor
to operate a contractor owned crane."
"(g) On or about November 19, 1958, approximately 71 employees
refused to work for approximately 3 3/4 hours in the Boilermaking
Department in support of an asserted grievance that burners and
riggers would not dismantle a tank roof without employment of
boilermakers at the said task."
"(h) On or about November 21, 1958, in further pursuance of the
asserted grievance referred to in subparagraph (g) preceding, the
main entrance to the plant was picketed and barricaded, thereby
preventing approximately 800 employees from reporting for work for
an entire shift."
"(i) On or about February 13 and 14, 1959, approximately 999
employees were induced to stop work over an asserted grievance on
behalf of three riggers that they should not have been docked an
aggregate of $2.19 in their pay for having reported late to
"In the interpretation of this Act and in determining the
jurisdiction and authority of the courts of the United States, as
such jurisdiction and authority are herein defined and limited, the
public policy of the United States is hereby declared as
"Whereas, under prevailing economic conditions, developed with
the aid of governmental authority for owners of property to
organize in the corporate and other forms of ownership association,
the individual unorganized worker is commonly helpless to exercise
actual liberty of contract and to protect his freedom of labor, and
thereby to obtain acceptable terms and conditions of employment,
wherefore, though he should be free to decline to associate with
his fellows, it is necessary that he have full freedom of
association, self-organization, and designation of representatives
of his own choosing, to negotiate the terms and conditions of his
employment, and that he shall be free from the interference,
restraint, or coercion of employers of labor, or their agents, in
the designation of such representatives or in self-organization or
in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective
bargaining or other mutual aid or protection; therefore, the
following definitions of, and limitations upon, the jurisdiction
and authority of the courts of the United States are enacted."
47 Stat. 70, 29 U.S.C. § 102.
One of the most forthright arguments for judicial reevaluation
of the wisdom of the anti-injunction provisions of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act and judicial, rather than congressional,
revision of the meaning and scope of these provisions as applied to
conduct in breach of a collective bargaining agreement is presented
in Gregory, The Law of the Collective Agreement, 57 Mich.L.Rev.
635. That author, in urging that a strike in breach of a collective
agreement should not now be held to involve or grow out of a "labor
dispute" within the meaning of the Norris-LaGuardia Act,
"After all, 1932 was a long time ago, and conditions have
changed drastically. Judges who still confuse violations of
collective agreements with § 13 labor disputes and § 4 conduct
have, in my opinion, lost contact with reality. The passage of time
has operated as a function of many other types of judicial output
at the highest level. I do not see why it should not do so in this
instance as well."
at 645-646, n. 39. See also
No-Strike Clauses in the Federal Courts, 59 Mich.L.Rev. 673,
especially at 683; Rice, A Paradox of our National Labor Law, 34
Thus, we conclude here, precisely as we did in Lauf v. E. G.
Shinner & Co., 303 U. S. 323
303 U. S.
"We find nothing in the declarations of policy which narrows the
definition of a labor dispute as found in the statutes. The rights
of the parties and the jurisdiction of the federal courts are to be
determined according to the express provisions applicable to labor
disputes as so defined."
United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.
, 312 U. S. 234
and cases cited therein.
See note 2
We need not here again go into the history of the
Norris-LaGuardia, Act nor the abuses which brought it into being,
for that has been amply discussed on several occasions.
Frankfurter and Greene, The Labor Injunction. And
see, e.g., United States v. Hutcheson, 312 U.
, 312 U. S.
-236; Milk Wagon Drivers' Union v. Lake Valley
Farm Products, Inc., 311 U. S. 91
311 U. S.
-103. It is sufficient here to note that the reasons
which led to the passage of the Act were substantial, and that the
Act has been an important part of the pattern of legislation under
which unions have functioned for nearly 30 years.
Section 301(e) of the Act, 61 Stat. 156, 29 U.S.C. § 185(e),
"For the purposes of this section, in determining whether any
person is acting as an 'agent' of another person so as to make such
other person responsible for his acts, the question of whether the
specific acts performed were actually authorized or subsequently
ratified shall not be controlling."
This, of course, was designed to and did repeal for purposes of
suits under § 301 the previously controlling provisions of § 6 of
the Norris-LaGuardia Act, 47 Stat. 71, 29 U.S.C. § 106:
"No officer or member of any association or organization, and no
association or organization participating or interested in a labor
dispute, shall be held responsible or liable in any court of the
United States for the unlawful acts of individual officers,
members, or agents, except upon clear proof of actual participation
in, or actual authorization of, such acts, or of ratification of
such acts after actual knowledge thereof."
61 Stat. 146, 155, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 160(h), 178(b).
61 Stat. 157, 29 U.S.C. § 186(e). That this section, which
stands alone in expressly permitting suits for injunctions
previously proscribed by the Norris-LaGuardia Act to be brought in
the federal courts by private litigants under the Taft-Hartley Act,
deals with an unusually sensitive and important problem is shown by
the fact that § 186 makes the conduct so enjoinable a crime
punishable by both fine and imprisonment.
This fact was expressly recognized by the Court of Appeals for
the Second Circuit in A. H. Bull Steamship Co. v. Seafarers'
250 F.2d 326, 331-332. See also W. L.
Mead, Inc. v. Teamsters Local No. 25,
217 F.2d 6, 9-10;
Comment, Labor Injunctions and Judge-Made Labor Law: The
Contemporary Role of Norris-LaGuardia, 70 Yale L.J. 70, 97-99.
Another commentator, though urging his own belief that a strike in
breach of a collective agreement is not a "labor dispute" within
the Norris-LaGuardia Act, nevertheless admits that Congress thought
it was and deliberately decided to leave the anti-injunction
provisions of that Act applicable to § 301 suits. See
Rice, A Paradox of our National Labor Law, 34 Marq.L.Rev. 233,
H.R. 3020, 80th Cong., 1st Sess., as it passed the House,
"SEC. 302.1 (a) Any action for or proceeding involving a
violation of an agreement between an employer and a labor
organization or other representative of employees may be brought by
either party in any district court of the United States having
jurisdiction of the parties, without regard to the amount in
controversy, if such agreement affects commerce, or the court
otherwise has jurisdiction of the cause."
"* * * *"
"(e) In actions and proceedings involving violations of
agreements between an employer and a labor organization or other
representative of employees, the provisions of the Act of March 23,
1932, entitled 'An Act to amend the Judicial Code and to define and
limit the jurisdiction of courts sitting in equity and for other
purposes,' shall not have any application in respect of either
I Legislative History of the Labor Management Relations Act,
This is true both of the original Senate bill, S. 1126, as
reported and of the amended House bill, H.R. 3020, as passed by the
Senate. I Leg.Hist. 151-152; I Leg.Hist. 279-280.
I Leg.Hist. 111-112, 114, 239, 241-242.
In such a situation, suit for injunction could be brought by the
Board and, by virtue of § 10(h) of the National Labor Relations
Act, as amended by the Taft-Hartley Act, 61 Stat. 146, 29 U.S.C. §
160(h), the Norris-LaGuardia Act would not apply.
H.R.Conf.Rep. No. 510, on H.R. 3020, 80th Cong., 1st Sess., pp.
41-42, 1 Leg.Hist. 545-546.
H.R.Conf.Rep. No. 510, on H.R. 3020, 80th Cong., 1st Sess., p.
66, I Leg.Hist. 570.
93 Cong.Rec. 6445-6446, II Leg.Hist. 1544. Immediately prior to
this remark, Senator Taft had inserted into the Record a written
summary of his understanding as to the effect of the conference
upon the bill passed by the Senate:
"When the bill passed the Senate, it also contained a sixth
paragraph in this subsection [8(a)] which made it an unfair labor
practice for an employer to violate the terms of a collective
bargaining agreement or the terms of an agreement to submit a labor
dispute to arbitration. The House conferees objected to this
provision on the ground that it would have the effect of making the
terms of every collective agreement subject to interpretation and
determination by the Board, rather than by the courts. The Senate
conferees ultimately agreed to its elimination, as well as the
deletion of a similar provision contained in subsection 8(b)(5) of
the Senate amendment which made it an unfair labor practice for a
labor organization to violate the terms of collective bargaining
agreements. The provisions of the Senate amendment which
conferred a right of action for damages
upon a party aggrieved
by breach of a collective bargaining contract, however, were
retained in the conference agreement (section 301)."
93 Cong.Rec. 6443, II Leg.Hist. 1539. (Emphasis supplied.)
The legislative history of the Taft-Hartley Act shows that
Congress actually considered and relied upon this normal
functioning of the judicial power as insuring that no unintended
repeal of the anti-injunction provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia
Act would be declared. Thus, Senator Taft, when pressed by Senator
Morse with regard to the possibility that a provision inserted in §
303(a) declaring secondary boycotts unlawful might be held to
justify an injunction previously forbidden by the Norris-LaGuardia
"Let me say in reply to the Senator or anyone else who makes the
same argument, that that is not the intention of the author of the
amendment. It is not his belief as to the effect of it. It is not
the advice of counsel to the committee. Under those circumstances,
I do not believe that any court would construe the amendment along
the lines suggested by the Senator from Oregon."
93 Cong.Rec. 4872, II Leg.Hist. 1396.
353 U. S. 353
The Court in Chicago River
expressly recognized and
rested its decision upon the differences between provisions for the
settlement of disputes under the Railway Labor Act and the
Taft-Hartley Act. Id.
at 353 U. S. 31
note 2. See also Order of Railroad Telegraphers v. Chicago
& North Western R. Co., 362 U. S. 330
362 U. S.
353 U. S. 30
353 U. S.
353 U. S. 353
at 353 U. S. 458
See also Order of Railroad Telegraphers v. Chicago & North
Western R. Co., 362 U. S. 330
362 U. S.
-339, where Lincoln Mills
and other cases
not involving an injunction against activity protected by § 4 of
the Norris-LaGuardia Act were distinguished on this ground.
An injunction against a strike or peaceful picketing in breach
of a collective agreement "would require strong judicial creativity
in the face of the plain meaning of Section 4," Cox, Current
Problems in the Law of Grievance Arbitration, 30 Rocky Mt.L.Rev.
247, 256, for, indeed, such an injunction
"would fly in the face of the plain words of Section 4 of the
Norris-LaGuardia Act, the historical purpose of which was to make
peaceful concerted activities unenjoinable without regard to the
nature of the labor dispute."
363 U. S. 363
363 U. S. 363
363 U. S. 363
Textile Workers Union v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.
, at 353 U. S.
We have not ignored Sinclair's argument that to apply the
Norris-LaGuardia Act here would deprive it of its constitutional
right to equal protection of the law, both because of an allegedly
unlawful discrimination between Taft-Hartley Act employers and
Railway Labor Act employers by virtue of the decision in Chicago
River, and because of an allegedly unlawful discrimination between
Taft-Hartley Act employers and unions by virtue of the decision in
Lincoln Mills. We deem it sufficient to say that we do not find
either of these argument compelling.
MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, with whom MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS and MR.
JUSTICE HARLAN join, dissenting.
I believe that the Court has reached the wrong result because it
has answered only the first of the questions which must be answered
to decide this case. Of course § 301 of the Taft-Hartley Act did
not, for purposes of
Page 370 U. S. 216
actions brought under it, "repeal" § 4 of the Norris-LaGuardia
Act. But the two provisions do coexist, and it is clear beyond
dispute that they apply to the case before us in apparently
conflicting senses. Our duty, therefore, is to seek out that
accommodation of the two which will give the fullest possible
effect to the central purposes of both. Since such accommodation is
possible, the Court's failure to follow that path leads it to a
result -- not justified by either the language or history of § 301
-- which is wholly at odds with our earlier handling of directly
analogous situations and which cannot be woven intelligibly into
the broader fabric of related decisions.
Section 301 of the Taft-Hartley Act, enacted in 1947, authorizes
Federal District Courts to entertain "[s]uits for violation of
contracts between an employer and a labor organization. . . ." It
does not in terms address itself to the question of remedies. As we
have construed § 301, it casts upon the District Courts a special
responsibility to carry out contractual schemes for arbitration, by
holding parties to that favored process for settlement when it has
been contracted for, and by then regarding its result as
conclusive. [Footnote 2/1
] At the
same time, § 4 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, enacted in 1932,
proscribes the issuance by federal courts of injunctions against
various concerted activities "in any case involving or growing out
of any labor dispute." But the enjoining of a strike over an
arbitrable grievance may be indispensable to the effective
enforcement of an arbitration scheme in a collective agreement;
thus, the power to grant that injunctive remedy may be essential to
the uncrippled performance of the Court's
Page 370 U. S. 217
function under § 301. [Footnote
] Therefore, to hold that § 301 did not repeal § 4 is only a
beginning. Having so held, the Court should -- but does not -- go
on to consider how it is to deal with the surface conflict between
the two statutory commands.
The Court has long acted upon the premise that the
Norris-LaGuardia Act does not stand in isolation. It is one of
several statutes which, taken together, shape the national labor
policy. Accordingly, the Court has recognized that Norris-LaGuardia
does not invariably bar injunctive relief when necessary to achieve
an important objective of some other statute in the pattern of
labor laws. See Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Chicago
River R. Co., 353 U. S. 30
Graham v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, 338 U.
; Virginian R. Co. v. System Federation,
300 U. S. 515
300 U. S.
-563. In Chicago River,
we insisted that
"must be an accommodation of [the Norris-LaGuardia Act] and the
Railway Labor Act so that the obvious purpose in the enactment of
each is preserved. [Footnote
These decisions refusing inflexible application of
Norris-LaGuardia point to the necessity of a careful inquiry
whether the surface conflict between § 301 and § 4 is
irreconcilable in the setting before us: a strike over a
Page 370 U. S. 218
grievance which both parties have agreed to settle by binding
arbitration. I think that there is nothing in either the language
of § 301 or its history to prevent § 4's here being accommodated
with it, just as § 4 was accommodated with the Railway Labor
It cannot be denied that the availability of the injunctive
remedy in this setting is far more necessary to the accomplishment
of the purposes of § 301 than it would be detrimental to those of
Norris-LaGuardia. Chicago River
makes this plain. We there
held that the federal courts, notwithstanding Norris-LaGuardia, may
enjoin strikes over disputes as to the interpretation of an
existing collective agreement, since such strikes flout the duty
imposed on the union by the Railway Labor Act to settle such "minor
disputes" by submission to the National Railroad Adjustment Board,
rather than by concerted economic pressures. We so held, even
though the Railway Labor Act contains no express prohibition of
strikes over "minor disputes," because we found it essential to the
meaningful enforcement of that Act -- and because the existence of
mandatory arbitration eliminated one of the problems to which
Norris-LaGuardia was chiefly addressed, namely, that "the
injunction strips labor of its primary weapon without substituting
any reasonable alternative." [Footnote
That reasoning is applicable with equal force to an injunction
under § 301 to enforce a union's contractual duty, also binding on
the employer, to submit certain disputes to terminal arbitration
and to refrain from striking over them. The federal law embodied in
§ 301 stresses the effective enforcement of such arbitration
Page 370 U. S. 219
agreements. When one of them is about to be sabotaged by a
strike, § 301 has as strong a claim upon an accommodating
interpretation of § 4 as does the compulsory arbitration law of the
Railway Labor Act. It is equally true in both cases that "[an
injunction] alone can effectively guard the plaintiff's right,"
International Ass'n of Machinists v. Street, 367 U.
, 367 U. S. 773
It is equally true in both cases that the employer's specifically
enforceable obligation to arbitrate provides a "reasonable
alternative" to the strike weapon. It is equally true in both cases
that a major contributing cause for the enactment of
Norris-LaGuardia -- the at-largeness of federal judges in enjoining
activities thought to seek "unlawful ends" or to constitute
"unlawful means" [Footnote 2/5
is not involved. Indeed, there is in this case a factor weighing in
favor of the issuance of an injunction which was not present in
Chicago River: [Footnote 2/6
express contractual commitment of the union to refrain from
striking, viewed in light of the overriding purpose of § 301 to
assist the enforcement of collective agreements.
In any event, I should have thought that the question was
settled by Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.
. In that case, the Court held that the procedural
requirements of Norris-LaGuardia's § 7, although in terms fully
applicable, would not apply so as to frustrate a federal court's
effective enforcement under § 301 of an employer's obligation to
arbitrate. It is strange, I think, that § 7 of the Norris-LaGuardia
Act need not be read, in the face of § 301, to impose inapt
procedural restrictions upon the specific enforcement of an
Page 370 U. S. 220
contractual duty to arbitrate; but that § 4 must be read,
despite § 301, to preclude absolutely the issuance of an injunction
against a strike which ignores a union's identical duty.
The legislative history of § 301 affords the Court no refuge
from the compelling effect of our prior decisions. That history
shows that Congress considered and rejected
"the advisability of repealing the Norris-LaGuardia Act insofar
as suits based upon breach of collective bargaining agreements are
concerned. . . . [Footnote
But congressional rejection of outright repeal certainly does
not imply hostility to an attempt by the courts to accommodate all
statutes pertinent to the decision of cases before them. Again, the
Court's conclusion stems from putting the wrong question. When it
is appreciated that there is no question here of "repeal," but
rather one of how the Court is to apply the whole statutory complex
to the case before it, it becomes clear that the legislative
history does not support the Court's conclusion. First, however, it
seems appropriate to discuss, as the Court has done, the language
of § 301 considered in light of other provisions of the
There is nothing in the words of § 301 which so much as
intimates any limitation to damage remedies when the asserted
breach of contract consists of concerted activity. The section
simply authorizes the District Courts to entertain and decide suits
for violation of collective contracts. Taking the language alone,
the irresistible implication would be that the District Courts were
to employ their regular arsenal of remedies appropriately to the
situation. That would mean, of course, that injunctive relief could
be afforded when damages would not be an adequate remedy. This
much, surely, is settled by Lincoln
Page 370 U. S. 221
But the Court reasons that the failure of § 301
explicitly to repeal § 4 of Norris-LaGuardia completely negates the
availability of injunctive relief in any case where that provision
-- in the absence of § 301 -- would apply. That reasoning stems
from attaching undue significance to the fact that express repeal
of Norris-LaGuardia provisions may be found in certain other
sections of the Taft-Hartley Act -- from which the Court
"not only that Congress was completely familiar with those
provisions, but also that it regarded an express declaration of
inapplicability as the normal and proper manner of repealing them
in situations where such repeal seemed desirable.
Even on this analysis, the most that can be deduced from such a
comparative reading is that, while repeal of Norris-LaGuardia
seemed desirable to Congress in certain other contexts, repeal did
not seem desirable in connection with § 301.
Sound reasons explain why repeal of Norris-LaGuardia provisions,
acceptable in other settings, might have been found ill suited for
the purpose of § 301. And those reasons fall far short of a design
to preclude absolutely the issuance under § 301 of any injunction
against an activity included in § 4 of Norris-LaGuardia. Section
10(h) of the Act [Footnote 2/9
simply lifts the § 4 barrier in connection with proceedings brought
by the National Labor Relations Board -- in the Courts of Appeals
for enforcement of Board cease and desist orders against unfair
labor practices, and in the District Courts for interlocutory
relief against activities being prosecuted before the Board as
unfair labor practices. This repeal in aid of government litigation
to enforce carefully drafted prohibitions already in the Act as
unfair labor practices was, obviously, entirely
Page 370 U. S. 222
appropriate, definitely limited in scope, predictable in effect,
and devoid of any risk of abuse or misunderstanding. Much the same
is true of § 208(b) of Taft-Hartley, [Footnote 2/10
] which simply repeals Norris-LaGuardia in
a case where the Attorney General seeks an injunction at the
direction of the President, who must be of the opinion -- after
having been advised by a board of inquiry -- that continuation of
the strike in question would imperil the national health and
Only in § 302(e) of Taft-Hartley [Footnote 2/11
] is there found a repeal of
Norris-LaGuardia's anti-injunction provisions in favor of a suit by
a private litigant. [Footnote
] The District Courts are there authorized to restrain the
payment by employers and the acceptance by employee representatives
of unauthorized payments in the nature of bribes. Not only is the
problem thus dealt with "unusually sensitive and important," as the
Court notes, [Footnote 2/13
the repeal of Norris-LaGuardia is clearly, predictably, and
narrowly confined to one kind of suit over one kind of injury; and
obviously it presents no possible threat to the important purposes
of that Act.
How different was the problem posed by § 301, which broadly
authorized District Courts to decide suits for breach of contract.
The Congress understandably may not have felt able to predict what
provisions would crop up in collective bargaining agreements, to
foresee the settings in which these would become subjects of
Page 370 U. S. 223
or to forecast the rules of law which the courts would apply.
The consequences of repealing the anti-injunction provisions in
this context would have been completely unknowable, and outright
repeal, therefore, might well have seemed unthinkable. Congress
clearly had no intention of abandoning wholesale the
Norris-LaGuardia policies in contract suits; but it does not follow
that § 301 is not the equal of § 4 in cases which implicate both
Indeed, it might with as much force be said that Congress knew
well how to limit remedies against employee activities to damages
when that was what it intended, as that Congress knew how to repeal
Norris-LaGuardia when that was what it intended. Section 303 of
Taft-Hartley [Footnote 2/14
authorizes private actions for damages
certain concerted employee activities. When that section was
introduced on the Senate floor, it provided for injunctive relief
as well. Extended debate revealed strong sentiment against the
injunction feature, which incorporated a repeal of
Norris-LaGuardia. The section's supporters therefore proposed a
different version which provided for damages only. In this form,
the section was adopted by the Senate -- and later by the
Conference and the House. [Footnote
] Certainly, after this experience, Congress would have
used language confining § 301 to damage remedies when it was
invoked against concerted activity if such had been the
The statutory language thus fails to support the Court's
position. The inference is at least as strong that Congress was
content to rely upon the courts to resolve any seeming conflicts
between § 301 and § 4 as they arose in the relatively manageable
setting of particular cases, as that Congress intended to limit to
damages the remedies
Page 370 U. S. 224
courts could afford against concerted activities under § 301.
The Court then should so exercise its judgment as best to effect
the most important purposes of each statute. It should not be bound
by inscrutable congressional silence to a wooden preference for one
statute over the other.
Nor does the legislative history of § 301 suggest any different
conclusion. As the Court notes, the House version would have
repealed Norris-LaGuardia in suits brought under the new section.
] The Senate
version of § 301, like the section as enacted, did not deal with
Norris-LaGuardia, but neither did it limit the remedies available
against concerted activity. [Footnote
] Thus, any attempt to ascertain the Senate's intention
would face the same choices as those I have suggested in dealing
with the language of § 301 as finally enacted. It follows that to
construe the Conference Committee's elimination of the House repeal
as leaving open the possibility of judicial accommodation is at
least as reasonable as to conclude that Congress, by its silence,
was directing the courts to disregard § 301 whenever opposition
from § 4 was encountered. [Footnote
I emphasize that the question in this case is not whether the
basic policy embodied in Norris-LaGuardia against the injunction of
activities of labor unions has been abandoned in actions under §
301; the question is simply whether injunctions are barred against
strikes over grievances
Page 370 U. S. 225
which have been routed to arbitration by a contract specifically
enforceable against both the union and the employer. Enforced
adherence to such arbitration commitments has emerged as a dominant
motif in the developing federal law of collective bargaining
agreements. But there is no general federal anti-strike policy;
and, although a suit may be brought under § 301 against strikes
which, while they are breaches of private contracts, do not
threaten any additional public policy, in such cases, the
anti-injunction policy of Norris-LaGuardia should prevail.
Insistence upon strict application of Norris-LaGuardia to a strike
over a dispute which both parties are bound by contract to
arbitrate threatens a leading policy of our labor relations law.
But there may be no such threat if the union has made no binding
agreement to arbitrate, and, if the employer cannot be compelled to
arbitrate, restraining the strike would cut deep into the core of
Norris-LaGuardia. Therefore, unless both parties are so bound,
limiting an employer's remedy to damages might well be appropriate.
The susceptibility of particular concrete situations to this sort
of analysis shows that rejection of an outright repeal of § 4 was
wholly consistent with acceptance of a technique of accommodation
which would lead, in some cases, to the granting of injunctions
against concerted activity. Accommodation requires only that the
anti-injunction policy of Norris-LaGuardia not intrude into areas,
not vital to its ends, where injunctive relief is vital to a
purpose of § 301; it does not require unconditional surrender.
Today's decision cannot be fitted harmoniously into the pattern
of prior decisions on analogous and related matters. Considered in
their light, the decision leads inescapably to results consistent
neither with any imaginable legislative purpose nor with sound
Page 370 U. S. 226
We have held that uniform doctrines of federal labor law are to
be fashioned judicially in suits brought under § 301, Textile
Workers v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U. S. 448
that actions based on collective agreements remain cognizable in
state as well as federal courts, Charles Dowd Box Co. v.
Courtney, 368 U. S. 502
that state courts must apply federal law in such actions,
Teamsters Local v. Lucas Flour Co., 369 U. S.
The question arises whether today's prohibition of injunctive
relief is to be carried over to state courts as a part of the
federal law governing collective agreements. If so, § 301, a
provision plainly designed to enhance the responsibility of unions
to their contracts, will have had the opposite effect of depriving
employers of a state remedy they enjoyed prior to its
On the other hand, if, as today's literal reading suggests
] and as a leading
state decision holds, [Footnote
] States remain free to apply their injunctive remedies
against concerted activities in breach of contract, the development
of a uniform body of federal contract law is in for hard times. So
long as state courts remain free to grant the injunctions
unavailable in federal courts, suits seeking relief against
concerted activities in breach of contract will be channeled to the
States whenever possible. Ironically, state, rather than federal,
courts will be the preferred instruments to protect the integrity
of the arbitration process, which Lincoln Mills
decisions forged into a kingpin of federal
labor policy. Enunciation of uniform doctrines applicable in such
cases will be severely impeded. Moreover, the type of relief
available in a particular instance will turn on fortuities
Page 370 U. S. 227
of locale and susceptibility to process -- depending upon which
States have anti-injunction statutes and how they construe
I have not overlooked the possibility that removal of the state
suit to the federal court might provide the answer to these
difficulties. But, if § 4 is to be read literally, removal will not
be allowed. [Footnote 2/21
if it is allowed, the result once again is that § 301 will have had
the strange consequence of taking away a contract remedy available
before its enactment.
The decision deals a crippling blow to the cause of grievance
arbitration itself. Arbitration is so highly regarded as a proved
technique for industrial peace that even the Norris-LaGuardia Act
fosters its use. [Footnote 2/22
But since unions cannot be enjoined by a federal court from
striking in open defiance of their undertakings to arbitrate,
employers will pause long before committing themselves to
obligations enforceable against them but not against their unions.
The Court does not deny the desirability, indeed, necessity, for
injunctive relief against a strike over an arbitrable grievance.
] The Court says
only that federal courts may not grant such relief, that Congress
must amend § 4 if those courts are to give substance to the
congressional plan of encouraging peaceable settlements of
grievances through arbitration.
Page 370 U. S. 228
A District Court entertaining an action under § 301 may not
grant injunctive relief against concerted activity unless and until
it decides that the case is one in which an injunction would be
appropriate despite the Norris-LaGuardia Act. When a strike is
sought to be enjoined because it is over a grievance which both
parties are contractually bound to arbitrate, the District Court
may issue no injunctive order until it first holds that the
contract does have that effect; and the employer should be ordered
to arbitrate, as a condition of his obtaining an injunction against
the strike. Beyond this, the District Court must, of course,
consider whether issuance of an injunction would be warranted under
ordinary principles of equity -- whether breaches are occurring and
will continue, or have been threatened and will be committed;
whether they have caused or will cause irreparable injury to the
employer; and whether the employer will suffer more from the denial
of an injunction than will the union from its issuance.
In the case before us, the union enjoys the contractual right to
make the employer submit to final and binding arbitration of any
employee grievance. At the same time, the union agrees that
"[T]here shall be no strikes . . . for any cause which is or may be
the subject of a grievance." [Footnote 2/24
] The complaint alleged that the union
had, over the past several months, repeatedly engaged in "quickie"
strikes over arbitrable grievances. Under the contract and the
complaint, then, the District Court might conclude that there have
occurred and will continue to occur breaches of contract of a type
to which the principle of accommodation applies. It follows that,
rather than dismissing the complaint's request for an injunction,
Page 370 U. S. 229
Court should remand the case to the District Court with
directions to consider whether to grant the relief sought -- an
injunction against future repetitions. This would entail a weighing
of the employer's need for such an injunction against the harm that
might be inflicted upon legitimate employee activity. It would call
into question the feasibility of setting up in futuro
contempt sanctions against the union (for striking) and against the
employer (for refusing to arbitrate) in regard to prospective
disputes which might fall more or less clearly into the adjudicated
category of arbitrable grievances. In short, the District Court
will have to consider with great care whether it is possible to
draft a decree which would deal equitably with all the interests at
I would reverse the Court of Appeals and remand to the District
Court for further proceedings consistent with this dissenting
Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.
; United Steelworkers v. American Mfg.
Co., 363 U. S. 564
United Steelworkers v. Warrior & Gulf Co.,
363 U. S. 574
United Steelworkers v. Enterprise Corp., 363 U.
In Teamsters Local v. Lucas Flour Co., 369 U. S.
, we held that a strike over a dispute which a
contract provides shall be settled exclusively by binding
arbitration is a breach of contract despite the absence of a
no-strike clause, saying at p. 369 U. S.
"To hold otherwise would obviously do violence to accepted
principles of traditional contract law. Even more in point, a
contrary view would be completely at odds with the basic policy of
national labor legislation to promote the arbitral process as a
substitute for economic warfare."
And in Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Chicago River R.
Co., 353 U. S. 30
353 U. S. 39
recognized that allowing a strike over an arbitrable dispute would
effectively "defeat the jurisdiction" of the arbitrator.
353 U.S. at 353 U. S.
at 353 U. S.
S.Rep. No. 163, 72d Cong., 1st Sess., p. 18;
Frankfurter and Greene, The Labor Injunction, pp. 24-46, 200,
It is worth repeating that the Railway Labor Act incorporates no
express prohibition of strikes over "minor disputes."
p. 370 U. S.
p. 370 U. S. 205
National Labor Relations Act, § 10(h), 61 Stat. 149, 29 U.S.C. §
61 Stat. 155, 29 U.S.C. § 178.
61 Stat. 158, 29 U.S.C. § 186(e).
Section 301(e), 61 Stat. 157, 29 U.S.C. § 185(e), also mentioned
by the Court, has no bearing on injunction problems. It repeals,
for its purposes, § 6 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which deals with
agency responsibility for concerted activities. Its only relevance
here is in showing what is clear anyway: that § 301 effected no
repeal of the anti-injunction provisions of Norris-LaGuardia.
p. 370 U. S.
29 U.S.C. § 187.
II Leg.Hist. 1323-1400; I Leg.Hist. 571.
I Leg.Hist. 221-222.
I Leg.Hist. 279-280.
There is nothing in any Committee Report, or in any floor
debate, which even intimates a confinement of § 301 remedies to
damages in cases involving concerted activities. The only bit of
legislative history which could is the statement of Senator Taft,
quoted by the Court at note 27
of its opinion
which he inserted into the Congressional Record.
What little significance that isolated insertion might have had
has, of course, been laid to rest by Lincoln Mills.
Section 4 commences: "No courts of the United States shall have
jurisdiction to issue any restraining order. . . ."
McCarroll v. Los Angeles County District
Council, 49 Cal. 2d 45
315 P.2d 322.
fn2/19|>note 19, supra, with
of the removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441, allowing removal in cases
"of which the district courts of the United States have original
Norris-LaGuardia Act, § 8, 47 Stat. 72, 29 U.S.C. §
The Court acknowledges, of course, that an employer may obtain
an order directing a union to comply with its contract to
arbitrate. Consistently with what we said in Lucas, supra,
fn2/2|>note 2, a strike in the face of such an order
would risk a charge of contempt.
See Atkinson v. Sinclair Rfg. Co., 370 U.