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NLRB V. MARINE WORKERS, 391 U. S. 418 (1968)

U.S. Supreme Court

NLRB v. Marine Workers, 391 U.S. 418 (1968)

National Labor Relations Board v. Industrial Union of

Marine & Shipbuilding Workers of America

No. 796

Argued April 30, 1968

Decided May 27, 1968

391 U.S. 418


Holder, a member of respondent unions, submitted charges to Local 22 that its president had violated the International's constitution. The local decided in its president's favor. Holder, without pursuing the intra-union appeals procedure contained in § 5 of the International's constitution, filed with the NLRB an unfair labor practice complaint claiming violation of § 8(b)(1)(A) of the National Labor Relations Act based on the same alleged violations of the president and charging that Local 22 had caused his employer to discriminate against him because he had engaged in "protected activity" with respect to his employment. While Holder's complaint was pending before the NLRB, Local 22 brought intra-union charges that Holder had violated § 5 of the International's constitution by filing the charge with the NLRB before exhausting his internal remedies, held a hearing, found Holder guilty, and expelled him from respondent unions. Holder then filed a second charge with the NLRB (the basis of this case), which found that respondent unions had violated § 8(b)(1)(A) by expelling Holder for filing the charge with the NLRB without having first exhausted intra-union procedures. The NLRB issued a remedial order. The Court of Appeals refused to enforce that order, relying on § 101(a)(4) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, which, while prohibiting a union from limiting a member's right to resort to a tribunal, provides that a member "may be required to exhaust reasonable hearing procedures" before doing so, "not to exceed a four-month lapse of time."


1. Holder's charge that he was discriminated against because he had engaged "in certain protected activity" constituted a sufficient allegation of impairment of § 7 rights. Pp. 391 U. S. 421-422.

2. Where a union member's complaint of grievance does not concern an internal union matter, but, as in this case, touches a

Page 391 U. S. 419

part of the public domain covered by the National Labor Relations Act, failure to resort to any intra-union grievance procedure before filing an unfair labor practice complaint with the NLRB is not ground for expulsion from the union. Pp. 391 U. S. 422-425, 391 U. S. 428.

3. Though § 101(a)(4) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act authorizes union hearing procedures for processing members' grievances, provided those procedures do not consume more than four months, a court or agency may consider whether a particular procedure is "reasonable" and entertain the complaint even though those procedures have not been "exhausted." Pp. 391 U. S. 425-428.

379 F.2d 702, reversed.

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