Longshoremen v. Marine Trade Assn.,
389 U.S. 64 (1967)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Longshoremen v. Marine Trade Assn., 389 U.S. 64 (1967)

International Longshoremen's Association, Local 1291 v.

Philadelphia Marine Trade Association

No. 34

Argued October 12 and 16, 1967

Decided November 6, 1967*

389 U.S. 64


A dispute between petitioner longshoremen's union and respondent, an employers' association, over the interpretation of a "set-back," or postponement of hours of work, provision in a collective bargaining agreement, was submitted to arbitration as provided in the agreement. On June 11, 1965, the arbitrator ruled that respondent's interpretation was correct. Respondent sought orders from the District Court enforcing the arbitrator's award, following work stoppages in July and September, 1965 by stevedores who disputed the meaning of the set-back provision. The court expressed no opinion on the union's contentions that the later disputes were distinguishable from the one involved in the arbitrator's award, but, on September 15, merely entered a decree requiring that the award "be specifically enforced," and ordering the union "to comply with and to abide by the said Award." Although the union's counsel noted that the award contained only an abstract proposition and no command capable of "enforcement," counsel's request for clarification of the court's order was unavailing. When further set-back disputes disrupted work in February, 1966, the court issued a rule to show cause why the union and its officers should not be held in contempt for violating the September 15 order. Without explaining precisely what acts violated the order, the judge held the February strike "illegal . . . under the circumstances," found the union in civil contempt, and fined the union $100,000 per day. The Court of Appeals affirmed the original decree and the contempt order.

Held: Since the District Court's decree, which was an "order granting an injunction" within the meaning of Fed.Rule Civ.Proc. 65(d), did not

Page 389 U. S. 65

comply with the Rule's requirement that it state in specific terms the acts that it commands or prohibits, neither it nor the decision holding the union in contempt can stand. Pp. 389 U. S. 74-76.

365 F.2d 295, 368 F.2d 932, reversed.

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