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June 4, 1948


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOLDSBOROUGH

Gentlemen, as you know, there is a motion on the part of the National Labor Relations Board for a mandatory injunction requiring the United Mine Workers of America and John L. Lewis their president to bargain collectively with the mine operators.

That motion is based on a law passed in 1947, 29 U.S.C.A. § 141 et seq. The material parts of the law say that 'it shall be an unlawful labor practice for a labor organization or its agents to restrain or coerce an employer in selection of his representatives for the purpose of collective bargaining for the adjustment of grievances.'

 The law, of course, requires collective bargaining -- and has, certainly, since 1935 -- probably before that -- but I am perfectly clear that it has been required since 1936.

 The defense to this petition, made by the United Mine Workers and their president, is, first, to the effect that there are procedural difficulties confronting the petitioners.

 The Court is not going to discuss them, for this reason: The Court thinks that they are not of sufficient significance to justify discussion.

 The Court thinks that they are disposed of effectively in the case of Evans, the regional director of the Ninth Region, National Labor Relations Board, v. International Typographical Union and others, decided in the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, No. 1587, on February 25, 1948. 76 F.Supp. 881. The Court hasn't had any difficulty at all about the indicated matters.

 Then the defendant says that the Court is without jurisdiction to pass a preliminary injunction for the purpose of assisting an administrative agency, that it has no power to pass a preliminary injunction in a matter in which it does not have final jurisdiction.

 The Court doesn't think that there is any authority which bears that out.

 The Court realizes that various statements in which the factual situation is different from this might appear to lend color to defendants' contention, but the Court also thinks that it is perfectly obvious to any student of the law that, for several hundred years, the very sort of thing which it is here requested that a court of equity do has been done in England and in this country.

 Then the question arises as to whether or not there is sufficient debatable factual matter which the Labor Board will have to consider, beginning on June 8, which is of such a character, such a serious character, that a court of equity should not undertake to act -- certainly until that factual matter has been analyzed and disposed of, I should say, by the National Labor Relations Board.

 Let's see whether there is any substantial factual matter. The defendant, in its motion to dissolve or to have dismissed the rule to show cause, and in its motion for a summary judgment, has attached an affidavit of the defendant John L. Lewis. In so far as that affidavit is self-serving, it is of no possible interest to the Court, because testimony favorable to the defendants' contention would, of course, have to be supported by evidence which would be subject to cross examination, but, in so far as it contains matter which is against the interests of the defendants, the Court can consider it, because the law presumes -- and presumes logically and sensibly -- that an individual doesn't make an admission against his interests unless it is true.

 Now, let's see what the affidavit contains, and what the argument of counsel for the defendants contains in support of its contention and in support of the allegations in the affidavit.

 The allegations in the affidavit, in so far as the issues here are concerned say that the Southern Producers Association doesn't want a contract.

 The Court assumes that what that means is that the Southern Producers Association wants to destroy the labor unions.

 Well, of course, no one could think any more strongly than the Court that it would be a terrible national calamity for the unions to be destroyed or for anything to happen to them which would destroy their legitimate effectiveness.

 And the Lewis affidavit says that, although they have been the bargaining agent of the Southern operators -- some 19 Southern operators, I think -- since 1941, that they have never been cooperative in the sense of indicating that they wanted to make any sort of a bargain.

 The Court said on Wednesday that the Court would give the defendants every opportunity to establish any fact they could establish before the Examiner of the Labor Relations Board, beginning on June 8, and indicated that, if that testimony was of such character as to show that the Southern Producers Association, if the labor union was compelled to attempt to bargain with them in connection with the other operators, that their action would be such that it would do the negotiations more harm than good, the Court wouldn't feel under any obligation to grant the injunction.

 The defendants decided not to take advantage of the Court's suggestion, and to rely upon the record. All the record means, in so far as any matter contained in it, of which the Court can take cognizance, and all the argument of counsel for defendants means is that, although Mr. Lewis, as their agent, represents the Union employees in 99 business units, that the Southern Producers Association shall not represent 19 business units involving the operators.

 Now, of course, that is an inconsistent position to take. It may be -- and it probably is -- very useful to the United Mine Workers that they are able to consolidate their forces with one representative, and while I am not a labor expert at all, it might be a mighty good thing for the operators, for the unions, and for the country, if the operators would get together and appoint one representative -- one salaried man -- who could keep in touch with the situation the year round and be in position to bargain, not only effectively but reasonably and logically.

 But certainly it is unreasonable, in this particular case, for the unions to say that 'we are entitled to one representative for our whole industry, 99 business units,' and that 'the Southern Producers Association are not ...

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