Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

CARBON FUEL CO. v. UNITED MINE WORKERS AMERICA ET AL.

decided: December 10, 1979.

CARBON FUEL CO
v.
UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA ET AL.



CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT.

Brennan, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Author: Brennan

[ 444 U.S. Page 213]

 MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

The question for decision in this case is whether an international union, which neither instigates, supports, ratifies, nor encourages "wildcat" strikes engaged in by local unions in violation of a collective-bargaining agreement, may be held liable in damages to an affected employer if the union did not use all reasonable means available to it to prevent the strikes or bring about their termination.

Petitioner, Carbon Fuel Co., and respondent United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) were parties to the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreements of 1968 and 1971, collective-bargaining agreements covering, inter alia, workers at petitioner's several coal mines in southern West Virginia. Forty-eight unauthorized or "wildcat" strikes were engaged in by three local unions at petitioner's mines from 1969 to 1973. Efforts of District 17, a regional subdivision of UMWA, to

[ 444 U.S. Page 214]

     persuade the miners not to strike and to return to work were uniformly unsuccessful.*fn1

Petitioner brought this suit pursuant to § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (Taft-Hartley Act), 61 Stat. 156, 29 U. S. C. § 185, in the District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. UMWA, District 17, and the three local unions were named defendants. The complaint sought injunctive relief*fn2 and damages, alleging that the strikes were in violation of the two collective-bargaining agreements. The case was tried before a jury. The trial judge found as a matter of law that the strikes violated the agreements. The trial judge also instructed the jury, over objection of UMWA and District 17, that those defendants might be found liable in damages to petitioner "[if] you find from a preponderance of the evidence that the International and District Unions did not use all of the reasonable means available to them to prevent work stoppages or strikes from occurring in violation of the contract, or to terminate any such work stoppages or strikes after they began. . . ." App. 197a. Verdicts in different amounts were returned against UMWA, District 17, and the three local unions.

[ 444 U.S. Page 215]

     On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated in part the judgments against the three local unions but otherwise affirmed those judgments.*fn3 However, the Court of Appeals vacated the judgments against UMWA and District 17, and remanded to the District Court with directions to dismiss the case against those defendants. 582 F.2d 1346 (1978). The court held that this result was required by its earlier decision in United Construction Workers v. Haislip Baking Co., 223 F.2d 872 (1955). 582 F.2d, at 1351. Haislip held as follows, 223 F.2d, at 877-878:

"We have never held . . . that there is any responsibility on the part of a union for a strike with which it has had nothing to do; and there manifestly is no such liability. If [UMWA or District 17] had done nothing when [petitioner] called on them to help get the men back to work, there would have been no liability on the part of [UMWA or District 17]. This being true, defendants were not rendered liable by the efforts which [District 17] made to bring about an adjustment of the difficulty, even if they did not do everything that they might have done to that end. The question is not whether they did everything they might have done, but whether they adopted, encouraged or prolonged the continuance of the strike. There is no evidence of any sort that they did."

The Court of Appeals recognized that its conclusion was in conflict with the holding of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Eazor Express, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 520 F.2d 951 (1975) (union liable under no-strike clause for failure to use best efforts to end unauthorized strikes).*fn4 We granted certiorari to resolve the conflict. 440 U.S. 957 (1979). We affirm.

[ 444 U.S. Page 216]

     Petitioner argues that the obligation of UMWA and District 17 to use all reasonable means to prevent and end unauthorized strikes in violation of the collective-bargaining agreement is either (a) implied in law because the agreement contains an arbitration provision or (b) in any event is to be implied from the provision of the agreement that the parties "agree and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.