MACHINISTS V. GONZALES, 356 U. S. 617 (1958)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Machinists v. Gonzales, 356 U.S. 617 (1958)

Machinists v. Gonzales

No. 31

Argued December 12, 1957

Decided May 26, 1958

356 U.S. 617


Claiming to have been expelled from membership in an international union and its local union in violation of his rights under the constitutions and bylaws of the unions, a former union member sued in a California State Court for restoration of his membership and for damages for his illegal expulsion. The Court entered judgment ordering his reinstatement and awarding him damages for lost wages and physical and mental suffering.

Held: The National Labor Relations Act as amended, does not exclude this exercise of state power, and the judgment is affirmed. Pp. 356 U. S. 618-623.

(a) The protection of union members in their contractual rights as members has not been undertaken by federal law, and state power to order reinstatement in a union is not precluded by the fact that the union's conduct may also involve an unfair labor practice and there is a remote possibility of conflict with enforcement of national policy by the National Labor Relations Board. Pp. 356 U. S. 618-620.

(b) Likewise, a state court can award damages for breach of the contract by wrongful ouster, since, even if the Board could award back pay, it could not compensate for other injuries suffered by an ousted union member, and the danger of conflict with federal policy is no greater than from an order of reinstatement. Pp. 356 U. S. 620-623.

142 Cal.App. 2d 207, 298 P.2d 92, affirmed.

Page 356 U. S. 618

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