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U.S. Supreme Court

NLRB v. Operating Engineers, 400 U.S. 297 (1971)

National Labor Relations Board v. Local 825,

International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO

No. 40

Argued November 18, 1970

Decided January 12, 1971*

400 U.S. 297


A general contractor (Burns) subcontracted construction work to three companies, all of which employed operating engineers who belonged to respondent union. That union, disputing the assignment by one of the subcontractors (White) of an operation involving an electric welding machine to members of another labor organization, advised Burns that all respondent's members on the jobsite would strike unless Burns bound itself and the subcontractors to give respondent jurisdiction over electric welding machines. The union went on strike when the employers refused to accede to its demands. After an arbitrator, to whom Burns had referred the matter, held that there was no reason to change the disputed work assignment, respondent union physically prevented operation of the welding machine. Thereafter an unfair labor practices proceeding against the union was brought. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that, by inducing the subcontractors' employees to strike to force White to assign the disputed work to the operating engineers, the union had violated § 8(b)(4)(D) of the National Labor Relations Act, which bars strikes for the object of

"forcing . . . any employer to assign particular work to employee in a particular labor organization . . . rather than to employees in another labor organization. . . ."

The NLRB also found that, by applying economic pressure on the neutral employers the union had violated § 8(b)(4)(B), which bars a union from exerting coercive pressure on a neutral or secondary employer where "an object thereof" is forcing him, inter alia, "to cease doing business with any other person." On the NLRB's petition for enforcement, the Court of Appeals sustained the NLRB's § 8(b)(4)(D) finding but set aside its § 8(b)(4)(b) finding, concluding that the union's objective was to force Burns "to use its influence with the subcontractor to change

Page 400 U. S. 298

the subcontractor' conduct, not to terminate their relationship."


1. In seeking to force Burn to bind all the subcontractors on the project to a particular form of job assignment and implying by its demand that Burns would have to force a change in White's policy or terminate White's contract, respondent union engaged in flagrant secondary conduct within the prohibition of § 8(b)(4)(b). Pp. 400 U. S. 302-305

2. Section 8(b)(4)(D) is not an exclusive remedy for secondary pressure aimed at involving a neutral employer in a jurisdictional dispute over work assignments made by the primary employer. Pp. 400 U. S. 305-306.

410 F.2d 5, reversed and remanded.

MARSHALL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J.,and BLACK, HARLAN, BRENNAN, WHITE, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEWART, J., joined, post, p. 400 U. S. 306.

Page 400 U. S. 299

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