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U.S. Supreme Court

Plumbers & Pipefitters v. Plumbers & Pipefitters, 452 U.S. 615 (1981)

United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the

Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry v. Local 334, United

Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the

Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry

No. 80-710

Argued April 29, 1981

Decided June 22, 1981

452 U.S. 615


Held: A suit brought by respondent local union against petitioner parent international union alleging a violation of the international union's constitution arising from the international union's issuance of an order requiring consolidation of certain local unions, including respondent -- which suit was instituted in state court but removed to federal court by the international union -- falls within the jurisdiction of the federal district courts under § 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947. That section establishes such jurisdiction for "[s]uits for violation of contracts . . . between any . . . labor organizations" representing employees in a covered industry. A union constitution is a "contract between labor organizations" and the unions are "labor organizations" within the plain meaning of § 301(a), and there is no legislative history contrary to such an interpretation. Section 301(a) jurisdiction over disputes between local and parent unions based on the parent's constitution does not depend upon allegations that the dispute potentially could have a significant impact on labor-management relations or industrial peace. Congress could have concluded that the enforcement of the terms of union constitutions -- documents that prescribe the legal relationship and the rights and obligations between the parent and affiliated locals -- would contribute to the achievement of labor stability. Pp. 452 U. S. 619627.

628 F.2d 812, reversed.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEWART, WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, and POWELL, JJ., joined. BURGER, C.J.,filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 452 U. S. 627. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which REHNQUIST, J., joined, post, p. 452 U. S. 630.

Page 452 U. S. 616

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