Review of Court Decisions - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 25, No. 3
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
NORRIS-LAGUARDIA RECONSIDERED — SINCLAIR REVERSED — INJUNCTION GRANTED — UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT
Where dispute between employer and union was subject to arbitration under their collective bargaining agreement and union called strike in violation of that agreement's no-strike provision, the U.S. Supreme Court, in finding that the employer had suffered and would have continued to suffer irreparable injury as a result of the strike, affirmed a district court order enjoining the strike and directing arbitration of the dispute. Thus, by its ruling, the Supreme Court reversed the decision in Sinclair Refining Co. v. Atkinson, 370 U.S. 195 (1962), which held that the anti-injunction provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act preclude a federal district court from enjoining a strike in breach of a no-strike obligation under a collective bargaining agreement, even though that agreement contains provisions enforceable under §301 (a) of the Labor-Management Relations Act for binding arbitration of the grievance dispute concerning which the strike was called. Said the court: ". . . the unavailability of equitable relief in the arbitration context presents a serious impediment to the congressional policy favoring the voluntary establishment of a mechanism for the peaceful resolution of labor disputes, that the core purpose of the Norris-LaGuardia Act is not sacrificed by the limited use of equitable remedies to further this important policy, and consequently that the Norris-LaGuardia Act does not bar the granting of injunctive relief in the circumstances of the instant case. Our holding in the present case is a narrow one. We do not undermine the vitality of the Norris-LaGuardia Act. We deal only with the situation in which a collective bargaining contract contains mandatory grievance adjustment or arbitration procedure.