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U.S. Supreme Court

Auto Workers v. Wisconsin Board, 351 U.S. 266 (1956)

United Automobile, Aircraft & Agricultural Implement

Workers of America v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Board

No. 530

Argued April 24-25, 1956

Decided June 4, 1956

351 U.S. 266


An employer which was subject to the National Labor Relations Act filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Board charging appellant union and others with committing unfair labor practices within the meaning of the Wisconsin Employment Peace Act, which practices were also unfair labor practices under the National Labor Relations Act, as amended. The employer alleged that, during a strike, members of the union had engaged in mass picketing, thereby obstructing ingress to and egress from the employer's plant; interfered with the free and uninterrupted use of public highways; prevented persons who desired to be employed from entering the plant; coerced employees who desired to work, and threatened them and their families with physical injury. The State Board found the allegations to be true and issued an order directing the union and certain of its members to cease all such activities. This order was enforced by a Wisconsin State Court.

Held: the order of the State Board is valid, and the judgment of the State Court enforcing it is affirmed. Pp. 351 U. S. 267-275.

(a) Section 8(b)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, is not the exclusive method of controlling violence even against employees, much less violence interfering with others approaching an area where a strike is in progress, and the Federal Act does not so occupy the field as to prevent a State from enjoining such violence. Pp. 351 U. S. 271-273.

(b) The fact that a union commits a federal unfair labor practice while engaging in violent conduct does not prevent a State from taking steps to stop the violence. P. 351 U. S. 274.

(c) A different result is not required by the fact that the State acted under a state labor relations statute, rather than under a general state law against violence and coercion, nor by the fact that the State has chosen to entrust its power to a labor board. Pp. 351 U. S. 273-275.

269 Wis. 578, 70 N.W. 2d 191, affirmed.

Page 351 U. S. 267

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