MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question in this case is whether peaceful picketing by a union, which does not represent a majority of the employees, to compel immediate recognition as the employees' exclusive bargaining agent, is conduct of the union "to restrain or coerce" the employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed in § 7,
Curtis Bros., Inc., has a retail store and a warehouse in Washington, D. C., in which it carries on a moving, warehousing and retail furniture business. In 1953 respondent Teamsters Local 639 was certified by the National Labor Relations Board, following a Board-conducted election, to be the exclusive representative of the Company's drivers, helpers, warehousemen and furniture finishers. However, when the Local called a strike over
A month after the election, in November 1955, the Local withdrew a picket line which had been maintained before the employees' entrance to the warehouse during the period from February 1954. However, picketing at the customers' entrance to the retail store was continued, but limited to not more than two pickets at any time. The pickets were orderly at all times and made no attempt to prevent anyone from entering the store. They simply patrolled before the entrance carrying signs reading on one side, "Curtis Bros. employs nonunion drivers, helpers, warehousemen and etc. Unfair to Teamsters Union No. 639 AFL," and on the other side, "Teamsters Union No. 639 AFL wants employees of Curtis Bros. to join them to gain union wages, hours, and working conditions."
After this picketing continued for about six months, Curtis Bros. made it the subject of an unfair labor practice charge against the Local for alleged violation of § 8 (b) (1) (A). A complaint issued which alleged, in substance, that the picketing was activity to "restrain or coerce" the employees in the exercise of § 7 rights, and
The Trial Examiner recommended that the complaint be dismissed on the ground that the Local's peaceful picketing, even if "recognitional," was not conduct to "restrain or coerce." The Board, one member dissenting, disagreed and entered a cease-and-desist order, 119 N. L. R. B. 232. On review at the instance of the Local, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, by a divided court, set aside the Board's order, holding that § 8 (b) (1) (A) "is inapplicable to peaceful picketing, whether `organizational' or `recognitional' in nature . . . ." 107 U. S. App. D. C. 42, 43, 274 F.2d 551, 552.
After we granted certiorari, the Congress enacted the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, which, among other things, adds a new § 8 (b) (7) to the National Labor Relations Act.
Basic to the right guaranteed to employees in § 7 to form, join or assist labor organizations, is the right to engage in concerted activities to persuade other employees to join for their mutual aid and protection. Indeed, even before the Norris-LaGuardia Act, 47 Stat. 70, and the Wagner Act, 49 Stat. 449, this Court recognized a right in unions to "use all lawful propaganda to enlarge their membership." American Steel Foundries v. Tri-City Central Trades Council, 257 U.S. 184, 209. However, the Taft-Hartley Act added another right of employees also guaranteed protection, namely, the right to refrain from joining a
We first consider § 8 (b) (1) (A) in the light of § 13, as amended, which provides, in substance, that the Taft-Hartley Act shall not be taken as restricting or expanding either the right to strike or the limitations or qualifications on that right, as these were understood prior to 1947, unless "specifically provided for" in the Act itself.
The Board asserts that the very general standard in § 8 (b) (1) (A) vests power in the Board to sit in judgment upon, and to condemn, a minority union's resort to a specific economic weapon, here peaceful picketing. The structure of § 8 (b), which defines unfair labor practices, hardly supports the Board's claims. Earlier this Term we pointed out that "Congress has been rather specific when it has come to outlaw particular economic weapons
In the sensitive area of peaceful picketing Congress has dealt explicitly with isolated evils which experience has established flow from such picketing. Therefore, unless there is the clearest indication in the legislative history of § 8 (b) (1) (A) supporting the Board's claim of power under that section, we cannot sustain the Board's order here. We now turn to an examination of the legislative history.
However, five members of the Senate Labor Committee, including Senators Taft and Ball, believed that the Senate bill did not go far enough in the regulation of practices employed by unions for organizational purposes. These Senators introduced on the floor a proposed amendment to the Committee bill. The amendment as originally phrased was the counterpart of § 8 (a) (1) applicable to employers; it would have made it an unfair labor practice for a labor organization "to interfere with" as well as "to restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in § 7 . . . ." The words "interfere with" were dropped during the debate, but except for this change, the amendment became § 8 (b) (1) (A).
The report of supplemental views which announced the five Senators' intention to propose the amendment identifies the abuses which the section was designed to reach. That report states: "The committee heard many instances of union coercion of employees such as that brought about by threats of reprisal against employees and their families in the course of organizing campaigns; also direct interference by mass picketing and other violence. Some of these acts are illegal under State law, but we see no reason why they should not also constitute
It is true that here and there in the record of the debates there are isolated references to instances of conduct which might suggest a broader reach of the amendment. See
This approach in the Senate is in sharp contract to the House view, which was that picketing should be strictly circumscribed. The House passed a bill imposing drastic
But the House conferees abandoned the House bill in conference and accepted the Senate proposal. H. R. Conf. Rep. No. 510 on H. R. 3020, 80th Cong., 1st Sess. 42.
This history makes pertinent what the Court said in Local 1976, United Brotherhood of Carpenters v. Labor Board, 357 U.S. 93, 99-100: "It is relevant to recall that the Taft-Hartley Act was, to a marked degree, the result of conflict and compromise between strong contending forces and deeply held views on the role of organized labor in the free economic life of the Nation and the appropriate
We conclude that the Board's interpretation of § 8 (b) (1) (A) finds support neither in the way Congress structured § 8 (b) nor in the legislative history of § 8 (b) (1) (A). Rather it seems clear, and we hold, that Congress in the Taft-Hartley Act authorized the Board to regulate peaceful "recognitional" picketing only when it is employed to accomplish objectives specified in § 8 (b) (4); and that § (b) (1) (A) is a grant of power to the Board limited to authority to proceed against union tactics involving violence, intimidation, and reprisal or threats thereof—conduct involving more than the general pressures upon persons employed by the affected employers implicit in economic strikes.
The Board's own interpretation for nearly a decade after the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act gave § 8 (b) (1) (A) this limited application. See, e. g., National Maritime Union, 78 N. L. R. B. 971, enforcement granted, 175 F.2d 686; Local 74, United Brotherhood of Carpenters (Watson's Specialty Store), 80 N. L. R. B. 533, enforcement granted, 181 F.2d 126, affirmed, 341 U.S. 707; Perry Norvell Co., 80 N. L. R. B. 225; Miami Copper Co., 92 N. L. R. B. 322; Medford Building & Construction Trades Council (Kogap Lumber Industries), 96
The Board dismisses these cases as "dubious precedent." 119 N. L. R. B., at 246. We think they gave a sounder construction to § 8 (b) (1) (A) than the Board's construction in the present case.
We are confirmed in our view by the action of Congress in passing the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. That Act goes beyond the Taft-Hartley Act to legislate a comprehensive code governing organizational strikes and picketing and draws no distinction between "organizational" and "recognitional" picketing. While proscribing peaceful organizational strikes in many situations, it also establishes safeguards against the Board's interference with legitimate picketing activity. See § 8 (b) (7) (C).
"Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8 (a) (3)." 49 Stat. 452, as amended, 61 Stat. 140, 29 U. S. C. § 157.
"It shall be an unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents—
"(1) to restrain or coerce (A) employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in section 7 . . . ." 61 Stat. 141, 29 U. S. C. § 158 (b) (1) (A).
"It shall be an unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents—
"(7) to picket or cause to be picketed, or threaten to picket or cause to be picketed, any employer where an object thereof is forcing or requiring an employer to recognize or bargain with a labor organization as the representative of his employees, or forcing or requiring the employees of an employer to accept or select such labor organization as their collective bargaining representative, unless such labor organization is currently certified as the representative of such employees:
"(A) where the employer has lawfully recognized in accordance with this Act any other labor organization and a question concerning representation may not appropriately be raised under section 9 (c) of this Act,
"(B) where within the preceding twelve months a valid election under section 9 (c) of this Act has been conducted, or
"(C) where such picketing has been conducted without a petition under section 9 (c) being filed within a reasonable period of time not to exceed thirty days from the commencement of such picketing: Provided, That when such a petition has been filed the Board shall forthwith, without regard to the provisions of section 9 (c) (1) or the absence of a showing of a substantial interest on the part of the labor organization, direct an election in such unit as the Board finds to be appropriate and shall certify the results thereof: Provided further, That nothing in this subparagraph (C) shall be construed to prohibit any picketing or other publicity for the purpose of truthfully advising the public (including consumers) that an employer does not employ members of, or have a contract with, a labor organization, unless an effect of such picketing is to induce any individual employed by any other person in the course of his employment, not to pick up, deliver or transport any goods or not to perform any services.
"Nothing in this paragraph (7) shall be construed to permit any act which would otherwise be an unfair labor practice under this section 8 (b)." 73 Stat. 544.
If § 8 (b) (1) (A) empowers the Board to proceed against peaceful picketing in any circumstances, the validity of a distinction in coverage between peaceful "organizational" and "recognitional" picketing has been challenged. See Cox, Some Current Problems in Labor Law: An Appraisal, 35 L. R. R. M. 48, 53-57; Bornstein, Organizational Picketing in American Law, 46 Ky. L. J. 25; Isaacson, Organizational Picketing: What is the Law?—Ought the Law to be Changed? 8 Buffalo L. R. 345. New § 8 (b) (7) does not make the distinction.
"Nothing in this Act, except as specifically provided for herein, shall be construed so as either to interfere with or impede or diminish in any way the right to strike, or to affect the limitations or qualifications on that right." 61 Stat. 151, 29 U. S. C. § 163.
Picketing has been equated with striking for the purposes of § 13. See, e. g., Labor Board v. International Rice Milling Co., 341 U.S. 665. Cf. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local No. 807 (Schultz Refrigerated Service, Inc.), 87 N. L. R. B. 502.
"It shall be an unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents—
"(4) to engage in, or to induce or encourage the employees of any employer to engage in, a strike or a concerted refusal in the course of their employment to use, manufacture, process, transport, or otherwise handle or work on any goods, articles, materials, or commodities or to perform any services, where an object thereof is: (A) forcing or requiring any employer or self-employed person to join any labor or employer organization or any employer or other person to cease using, selling, handling, transporting, or otherwise dealing in the products of any other producer, processor, or manufacturer, or to cease doing business with any other person; (B) forcing or requiring any other employer to recognize or bargain with a labor organization as the representative of his employees unless such labor organization has been certified as the representative of such employees under the provisions of section 9; (C) forcing or requiring any employer to recognize or bargain with a particular labor organization as the representative of his employees if another labor organization has been certified as the representative of such employees under the provisions of section 9; (D) forcing or requiring any employer to assign particular work to employees in a particular labor organization or in a particular trade, craft, or class rather than to employees in another labor organization or in another trade, craft, or class, unless such employer is failing to conform to an order or certification of the Board determining the bargaining representative for employees performing such work: Provided. That nothing contained in this subsection (b) shall be construed to make unlawful a refusal by any person to enter upon the premises of any employer (other than his own employer), if the employees of such employer are engaged in a strike ratified or approved by a representative of such employees whom such employer is required to recognize under this Act."
"The dockmen in that case were not striking for any particular benefit for themselves, but they were striking to coerce the other employees to leave the union of which they were members, and to join the other union—clearly an improper course of action, and clearly a matter which should be restrained by the National Labor Relations Board." 93 Cong. Rec. 4023.
Again, replying to Senator Pepper, Senator Taft cited an instance in which picketing closed a plant for several months. Senator Taft observed, "[c]oercion is not merely against union members: it may be against all employees." 93 Cong. Rec. 4024.
Memorandum of MR. JUSTICE STEWART, with whom MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER and MR. JUSTICE WHITTAKER join.
At the time the writ of certiorari was granted in this case, it clearly appeared that there was involved an "important question of federal law which has not been, but should be, settled by this court." See Rule 19, of the Revised Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States. Subsequently, however, Congress enacted the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. Section 704 (c) of that statute added to the National Labor Relations Act a new provision, § 8 (b) (7), which bans picketing for recognition or organizational purposes where: (A) the employer is lawfully recognizing another labor organization and a question concerning representation may not appropriately be raised under § 9; (B) within the preceding 12 months a valid election has been conducted; or (C) the picketing has been going on for an unreasonable period of time without a representation petition having been filed. See, ante, p. 277, note 5.
This new statutory provision seems squarely to cover the type of conduct involved here, and I would remand this case to the Board for reconsideration in the light of the 1959 legislation, as suggested by the Solicitor General.*
* The single sentence in a footnote to an opinion joined by but three members of the Board, referred to in note 6 of the Court's opinion, ante, p. 279, hardly reflects the kind of reconsideration which I have in mind, and certainly does not stand in the way of a more thorough re-examination by the Board.