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American Ship Building Co. v. Labor Board, 380 U.S. 300 (1965)

American Ship Building Co. v. Labor Board

No. 255

Argued January 21, 1965

Decided March 29, 1965

380 U.S. 300


Petitioner, operator of four shipyards, entered negotiations with the unions representing its employees for the purpose of securing a new agreement to replace the current contract, soon to expire. After a bargaining impasse was reached, petitioner temporarily closed down one yard and laid off employees at the others. The National Labor Relations Board found that the employer could not have reasonably anticipated a strike, that the sole purpose of the layoffs was to bring economic pressure to secure a prompt and favorable settlement of the labor dispute, and that, therefore, petitioner violated §§ 8(a)(1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act. The Court of Appeals granted enforcement of the Board's order.

Held: an employer does not commit an unfair labor practice under either § 8(a)(1) or § 8(a)(3) of the Act when, after an impasse has been reached in negotiations, he temporarily shuts down his plant and lays off his employees for the sole purpose of applying economic pressure in support of his legitimate bargaining position. Pp. 380 U. S. 308-318.

118 U.S.App.D.C. 78, 331 F.2d 839 reversed.

Page 380 U. S. 301

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