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U.S. Supreme Court

Meat Cutters v. Fairlawn Meats, Inc., 353 U.S. 20 (1957)

Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America,

Local No. 427, AFL v. Fairlawn Meats, Inc.

No. 41

Argued January 16, 1957

Decided March 25, 1957

353 U.S. 20


Fairlawn operates three meat markets in the vicinity of Akron, Ohio. All of its sales are intrastate. Of its purchases, amounting to about $900,000 in one year, about $100,000 come from out of the State directly, and as much or more indirectly. After a labor union had attempted unsuccessfully to organize Fairlawn's employees and Fairlawn had refused to recognize the union as the bargaining agent for its employees, the union picketed Fairlawn's stores and put some secondary pressure on its suppliers. Upon Fairlawn's complaint, an Ohio state court enjoined the union from picketing Fairlawn, from trespassing on its premises, and from exerting secondary pressure on its suppliers. No effort was made to invoke the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board, but it is assumed that the Board would have declined jurisdiction, and that it had not ceded jurisdiction under § 10(a) of the National Labor Relations Act.

Held: the labor dispute was within the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board, the state court was without jurisdiction over the labor dispute, and the judgment is vacated. Pp. 353 U. S. 22-25.

(a) Fairlawn's interstate purchases were not so negligible that its business cannot be said to affect interstate commerce within the meaning of § 2(7) of the National Labor Relations Act. P. 353 U. S. 22.

(b) Since the proviso to § 10 (a) of the National Labor Relations Act operates to exclude state labor boards from disputes within the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board in the absence of a cession agreement, Guss v. Utah Labor Relations Board, ante, p. 353 U. S. 1, it must also exclude state courts. P. 353 U. S. 23.

(c) Congress did not leave it to state labor agencies, to state courts, or to this Court to decide how consistent with federal policy state law must be. The power to make that decision in the first instance was given to the National Labor Relations Board, guided by the language of the proviso to § 10(a). Pp. 353 U. S. 23-24. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 353 U. S. 21

(d) Since the unitary judgment of the Ohio court as based on the erroneous premise that it had power to reach the union's conduct in its entirety, it is impossible to know whether its conclusion on the mere act of trespass would have been the same outside of the context of the union's other conduct. Pp. 353 U. S. 24-25.

164 Ohio St. 285, 130 N.E.2d 237, judgment vacated and cause remanded. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 353 U. S. 22

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