SAN DIEGO BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL ET AL. v. GARMON ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA.
Argued January 16, 1957.
Decided March 25, 1957.
Respondents operate two retail lumber yards in California and annually buy from outside the State about $250,000 worth of material for resale. Petitioner unions asked respondents to sign a labor contract including a union shop provision, though the unions had not been selected by a majority of respondents' employees as their bargaining agents. Respondents refused to sign and the unions commenced peaceful picketing and secondary pressure to enforce their demand. Respondents petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to settle the question of representation of their employees; but the Regional Director dismissed the petition. The Board had not entered into an agreement under 10 (a) of the Act ceding jurisdiction to the State. On complaint of respondents, a state court enjoined the unions from picketing or exerting secondary pressure to enforce their demands and awarded damages to respondents. Held:
Charles P. Scully argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the brief were Walter Wencke, Mathew O. Tobriner and John C. Stevenson.
James W. Archer argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief was J. Sterling Hutcheson. [353 U.S. 26, 27]
Solicitor General Rankin, Theophil C. Kammholz, Stephen Leonard and Dominick L. Manoli filed a brief for the National Labor Relations Board, as amicus curiae, urging affirmance.
Herbert B. Cohen, Attorney General, and Oscar Bortner, Assistant Attorney General, filed a brief for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as amicus curiae.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.
Respondents are a partnership, operating two retail lumber yards in San Diego County, California. In the year before this proceeding began they purchased more than $250,000 worth of material from outside of California for resale at retail. Petitioner unions asked them to sign a contract including a union shop provision. Respondents refused on the ground that it would be a violation of the National Labor Relations Act to sign such a contract before a majority of their employees had selected a union as their collective bargaining agent. The unions commenced peaceful picketing to enforce their demand. About a week later respondents filed suit in the Superior Court for an injunction and damages, alleging that they were in interstate commerce and that the contract sought by the unions would violate the Act. 1 On the same day respondents filed with the National Labor Relations Board's regional office a petition asking that the question of the representation of their employees be resolved. The Regional Director dismissed the petition. The unions nevertheless pressed their claim that the [353 U.S. 26, 28] National Board had exclusive jurisdiction. 2 After a hearing the Superior Court entered an order enjoining the unions from picketing or exerting secondary pressure in support of their demand for a union shop agreement unless and until one or another of the unions had been designated as the collective bargaining representative of respondents' employees. It also awarded respondents $1,000 damages. The California Supreme Court affirmed. 3 We granted certiorari. 351 U.S. 923 . Recognizing that respondents' business affected interstate commerce, it concluded that the Board's declination, in pursuance of its announced jurisdictional policy, to handle respondents' representation petition left the state courts free to act. 4 On the merits the court said:
[For dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE BURTON, joined by MR. JUSTICE CLARK, see ante, p. 12.]
[ Footnote 2 ] They also maintained that by not appealing the regional director's decision respondents had failed to exhaust their remedies under the National Act. On our view of the case, we need not consider this contention.
[ Footnote 3 ] 45 Cal. 2d 657, 291 P.2d 1.
[ Footnote 4 ] Petitioners' interstate purchases fall below the standards for retail stores. See Amalgamated Meat Cutters v. Fairlawn Meats, Inc., ante, p. 23, n. 4. The Board draws no distinction in the application of its jurisdictional standards between representation and unfair labor practice cases. C. A. Braukman, 94 N. L. R. B. 1609, 1611.