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UNITED ASSOCIATION JOURNEYMEN & APPRENTICES PLUMBING & PIPEFITTING INDUSTRY UNITED STATES AND CANADA v. LOCAL 334

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


decided: June 22, 1981.

UNITED ASSOCIATION OF JOURNEYMEN & APPRENTICES OF THE PLUMBING & PIPEFITTING INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA, AFL-CIO, ET AL
v.
LOCAL 334, UNITED ASSOCIATION OF JOURNEYMEN & APPRENTICES OF THE PLUMBING & PIPEFITTING INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA, ET AL.

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT.

Brennan, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Stewart, White, Marshall, Blackmun, and Powell, JJ., joined. Burger, C. J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 627. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Rehnquist, J., joined, post, p. 630.

Author: Brennan

[ 452 U.S. Page 616]

 JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

Section 301 (a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (the Taft-Hartley Act) provides jurisdiction in the federal district courts over "[suits] for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing employees in an industry affecting commerce as defined in this chapter, or between any such labor organizations." 61 Stat. 156, 29 U. S. C. § 185 (a) (emphasis added). The question presented in this case is whether a suit brought by a local union against its parent international union, alleging a violation of the international's constitution, falls within § 301 (a) jurisdiction of the federal district courts.

I

Respondent Local 334, United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada (Local 334 or respondent), was a labor organization chartered by and affiliated with petitioner United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada (International or United Association), an international labor organization.*fn1 Composed of both plumbers and pipefitters in Morris County, N. J., Local 334 was one of 27 New

[ 452 U.S. Page 617]

     Jersey locals affiliated with the International prior to 1977. After failing in its attempt to urge the New Jersey locals to agree upon a voluntary consolidation plan, the International proposed its own plan that would consolidate nine northern New Jersey locals, including Local 334, into two locals, one representing plumbers, the other pipefitters.*fn2 Under the plan, the plumber members of Local 334 would be transferred into Plumbers Local 14, and the pipefitter members of Local 334 into Pipefitters Local 274.

When the locals declined to agree to the International's plan,*fn3 the International issued an order of consolidation on August 4, 1977, based on the proposed plan, pursuant to § 86 of the constitution of the United Association. That section, entitled "Consolidation of Locals," provides:

"Whenever, in the judgment of the General President, it is apparent that there is a superfluous number of Local Unions in any locality, and that a consolidation would be for the best interest of the United Association, locally or at large, he shall have the power to order Local Unions to consolidate and to enforce the consolidation of said Local Unions, or said territory in one or more Local Unions, provided such course received the sanction of the General Executive Board." App. 25.

After receiving no response to a letter sent to the General Executive Board requesting a stay of the order pending appeal,

[ 452 U.S. Page 618]

     Local 334 on August 22, 1977, filed suit against the International in the Superior Court of New Jersey seeking to enjoin enforcement of the order of consolidation. Local 334 alleged in its complaint, inter alia, that § 86 did not permit division of the membership of a local into separate work classifications, that the action of United Association did not constitute a consolidation of local unions, and that the general president had abused his discretion. Complaint para. 11, id., at 21. Claiming that it would suffer "substantial and irreparable injury to plaintiffs' [ sic ] property and property rights as members of Local 334" unless the consolidation was prevented, Complaint para. 13, id., at 21, the Local requested equitable relief enjoining United Association to return the Local's charter and seal, directing it to process the Local's internal appeal to the International's General Executive Board, and preventing it from threatening the Local's officers and members with expulsion and loss of membership. Id., at 22.*fn4

The International removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 1441.*fn5 Local 334 filed a motion to remand the case to the state court, which the District Court denied. App. 98-99. Following completion of discovery and cross-motions for summary judgment, the District Court ruled in favor of the International. The court first concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because the Local had failed

[ 452 U.S. Page 619]

     to exhaust internal union remedies. App. to Pet. for Cert. 22a-23a. In the alternative, the court ruled on the merits that there was "ample basis for the [International's] interpretation of the Constitution as well as the application of that interpretation in the Order of Consolidation of August 4, 1977." Id., at 28a.

On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, sua sponte, raised the question of federal-court jurisdiction under § 301 (a) and requested supplemental briefing on that issue from the parties. 628 F.2d 812, 813 (1980). After canvassing treatment of this issue by other Courts of Appeals, the court held that "[suits] concerning intra-union matters that do not have a significant impact on labor-management relations or industrial peace are outside the scope of § 301 (a)." Id., at 820. Examining Local 334's allegations in its complaint, the court concluded that any alleged potential effect of the order of consolidation on labor-management relations or industrial peace would not pass the "significant impact" test and that the District Court therefore lacked jurisdiction under § 301 (a). Ibid. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment of the District Court and remanded with instructions to remand the case to the state court. Ibid. We granted the International's petition for certiorari, 449 U.S. 1123 (1981), to resolve this important question of labor law. We reverse.

II

Section 301 (a) establishes federal district court jurisdiction for "[suits] for violation of contracts . . . between any . . . labor organizations [representing employees in an industry affecting commerce as defined in this chapter]." 29 U. S. C. § 185 (a). On its face, the statute appears to comprehend the instant dispute. First, United Association's constitution may be fairly characterized as a contract between labor organizations. We have described a union constitution as a "fundamental agreement of association." Coronado Coal Co. v.

[ 452 U.S. Page 620]

     Indeed, even the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on review here recognized that a union constitution would be a "contract" within the meaning of § 301 (a) as long as the plaintiff made "specific factual allegations of actions which have a significant impact on labor-management relations or industrial peace." 628 F.2d, at 820.*fn8 And respondent in its complaint alleged that "[the] relationship (rights and duties) between Local 334 and the International is governed by the said Constitution." Amended Complaint, First Count para. 3, App. 55.

[ 452 U.S. Page 622]

     We have also noted that the prevailing state-law view is that a union constitution is a contract. Machinists v. Gonzales, 356 U.S. 617, 618-619 (1958) (discussing that aspect of union constitution constituting a contract between members and union). In particular, the view of a union constitution as a contract between parent and local unions was widely held in the States around the time § 301 (a) was enacted. See, e. g., Locals 1140 and 1145 v. United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, 232 Minn. 217, 221-222, 45 N. W. 2d 408, 411 (1950); International Union of United Brewery, Flour, Cereal, Soft Drink & Distillery Workers of America, C. I. O. v. Becherer, 4 N. J. Super. 456, 459, 67 A. 2d 900, 901, cert. denied, 3 N. J. 374, 70 A. 2d 537 (1949); Local Page 622} Union 13013, District 50, U. M. W. v. Cikra, 86 Ohio App. 41, 49, 90 N. E. 2d 154, 158 (1949); Bridgeport Brass Workers Union, Local 320 of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers v. Smith, 15 Conn. Supp. 505, 511-512 (Super. Ct. 1948), aff'd, 136 Conn. 654, 74 A. 2d 191 (1950); Textile Workers Local 204 v. Federal Labor Union No. 21500, 240 Ala. 239, 243, 198 So. 606, 609 (1940). See also Alexion v. Hollingsworth, 289 N. Y. 91, 96-97, 43 N. E. 2d 825, 827 (1942). See generally 87 C. J. S., Trade Unions §§ 42-43, pp. 836-842, 837, n. 39, 838, n. 53 (1954).

Second, just as a union constitution is a "contract" within the plain meaning of § 301 (a), so too is it clear that United Association and Local 334 are "labor [organizations] representing employees in an industry affecting commerce as defined in this chapter." As defined in the Act, 29 U. S. C. § 152 (5), the term "labor organization" means

"any organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work."

We have entertained numerous cases brought under § 301 (a) where one of the parties was an international union, see, e. g., Automobile Workers v. Hoosier Cardinal Corp., 383 U.S. 696 (1966), or a local union, see, e. g., Drake Bakeries, Inc. v. Bakery & Confectionery Workers, 370 U.S. 254 (1962). Indeed, in Carbon Fuel Co. v. Mine Workers, we did not even pause to question the existence of § 301 (a) jurisdiction in a suit brought by a coal company against an international union, an affiliated district union, and three affiliated local unions. 444 U.S., at 214.

If the plain meaning of the "contracts between labor organizations" clause of § 301 (a) supports jurisdiction in the instant case, its legislative history hardly upsets such an interpretation.

[ 452 U.S. Page 623]

     That is because there is no specific legislative history on that phrase to explain what Congress meant. The provision for suits between labor organizations was inserted late in the bill's history by the House-Senate Conference Committee. H. R. Conf. Rep. No. 510, 80th Cong., 1st Sess., 65-66 (1947), 1 NLRB, Legislative History of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, pp. 569-570 (hereafter Leg. Hist.); 93 Cong. Rec. 6445 (1947); 2 Leg. Hist., at 1535, 1543; see Retail Clerks v. Lion Dry Goods, Inc., 369 U.S. 17, 26 (1962). The Conference Report and postconference debates contain no explanatory remarks about this addition. The only reference to the clause was made in a summary of the Act prepared by Senator Taft and inserted in the Congressional Record, which merely recited: "Section 301 differs from the Senate bill in two respects. Subsection (a) provides that suits for violation of contracts between labor organizations, as well as between a labor organization and an employer, may be brought in the Federal courts." 93 Cong. Rec. 6445 (1947), 2 Leg. Hist., at 1543.

Relying primarily on decisions from other Courts of Appeals, the Court of Appeals below was "persuaded by the view that disputes between local and parent unions must involve events which potentially have a significant impact on labor-management relations or industrial peace in order for there to be jurisdiction under § 301 (a)." 628 F.2d, at 818. It is no doubt true that the primary purpose of the Taft-Hartley Act was "to promote the achievement of industrial peace through encouragement and refinement of the collective bargaining process." Charles Dowd Box Co. v. Courtney, 368 U.S. 502, 509 (1962); see Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.S. 448, 452-455 (1957). As the Senate observed, "[statutory] recognition of the collective agreement as a valid, binding, and enforceable contract . . . will promote a higher degree of responsibility upon the parties to such agreements, and will thereby promote industrial peace." S. Rep. No. 105, 80th Cong., 1st Sess., 17 (1947), 1 Leg. Hist., at 423.

[ 452 U.S. Page 624]

     But apparently Congress was also concerned that unions be made legally accountable for agreements into which they entered among themselves, an objective that itself would further stability among labor organizations. Therefore, § 301 (a) provided federal jurisdiction for enforcement of contracts made by labor organizations to counteract jurisdictional defects in many state courts that made it difficult or impossible to bring suits against labor organizations by reason of their status as unincorporated associations. See Charles Dowd Box Co. v. Courtney, supra, at 510; 93 Cong. Rec. 5014 (1947) (comments of Sen. Ball, a floor leader of the bill) ("because unions are voluntary associations, the common law in a great many States requires service on every member of the union, which is very difficult");*fn9 S. Rep. No. 105, supra, at 15, 1 Leg. Hist., at 421; Comment, Applying the "Contracts Between Labor Organizations" Clause of Taft-Hartley Section 301: A Plea for Restraint, 69 Yale L. J. 299, n. 2 (1959). Surely Congress could conclude that the enforcement of the terms of union constitutions -- documents that prescribe the legal relationship and the rights and obligations between the parent and affiliated locals -- would contribute to the achievement of labor stability. Since union constitutions were probably the most commonplace form of contract between labor organizations when the Taft-Hartley Act was enacted (and probably still are today), and Congress was obviously familiar with their existence and importance, we cannot believe that Congress would have used the unqualified term "contract" without intending to encompass that category of contracts represented by union constitutions. Nothing in the language and legislative history of § 301 (a) suggests any special qualification

[ 452 U.S. Page 625]

     or limitation on its reach, and we decline to interpose one ourselves.*fn10

Respondent goes even further than the Court of Appeals view that only disputes with a "significant impact" on labor-management relations should trigger § 301 (a) jurisdiction, arguing that § 301 (a) should never extend to disputes arising under union constitutions because "[the] 80th Congress clearly did not intend to intervene in the internal affairs of labor unions." Brief for Respondent 16-17. In support of its position, respondent cites several provisions of the Labor Management Relations Act,*fn11 some general statements in the legislative history,*fn12 and our decision in NLRB v. Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co., 388 U.S. 175, 184 (1967), where we observed in connection with § 8 (b)(2) of the Act*fn13 that "Congress

[ 452 U.S. Page 626]

     expressly disclaimed . . . any intention to interfere with union self-government or to regulate a union's internal affairs."*fn14 Respondent's argument falls wide of the mark. There is an obvious and important difference between substantive regulation by the National Labor Relations Board of internal union governance of its membership, and enforcement by the federal courts of freely entered into agreements between separate labor organizations.*fn15 See Parks v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 314 F.2d, at 915-916. In discussing the section in the Taft-Hartley Act on unfair labor practices with respect to the employer-union relationship, the House-Senate Conference stated: "Once parties have made a collective bargaining contract the enforcement of that contract should be left to the usual processes of the law and not to the National Labor Relations Board." H. R. Conf. Rep. No. 510, 80th Cong., 1st Sess., 42 (1947) (emphasis added), 1 Leg. Hist., at 546; see Teamsters v. Lucas Flour Co., 369 U.S. 95, 101, n. 9 (1962). Similarly, Congress chose in § 301 (a) to have contracts between labor organizations enforced by the federal courts.

[ 452 U.S. Page 627]

     We need not decide today what substantive law is to be applied in § 301 (a) cases involving union constitutions. It is enough to observe that the substantive law to apply "is federal law, which the courts must fashion from the policy of our national labor laws." Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.S., at 456. Whether the source of that federal law will be state law, id., at 457, see Automobile Workers v. Hoosier Cardinal Corp., 383 U.S., at 704-705, or other principles can be left to another case.*fn16 But it is far too late in the day to deny that Congress intended the federal courts to enjoy wideranging authority to enforce labor contracts under § 301. We do not need to say that every contract imaginable between labor organizations is within § 301 (a). It is enough to hold, as we do now, that union constitutions are.

Reversed.

Disposition

628 F.2d 812, reversed.

CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER, dissenting.

The Court holds today that union constitutions are "contracts between . . . labor organizations" within the meaning of § 301 (a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U. S. C. § 185 (a). To reach this result, the Court claims to rely on the plain meaning of the statute, uncontradicted by the legislative history. Unlike the Court, I cannot construe these simple English words in such a convoluted fashion. To me, it is abundantly clear that a union constitution is not a contract between labor organizations, and the legislative history confirms that this reading comports with Congress' intent in adopting the Act.

I agree with the Court, of course, that a union and its locals are "labor organizations" as defined by § 2 (5) of the National

[ 452 U.S. Page 628]

     Labor Relations Act, 29 U. S. C. § 152 (5). I also am willing to accept, at least for purposes of this case, the Court's conclusion that a union constitution is a "contract." But I do not believe it reasonably can be described as a contract between labor organizations. To the extent a union constitution is a contract at all, it is a contract only between the union and its members or among the members themselves; it is not between the national or international union and its constituent locals. Although the degree of autonomy given locals may vary from union to union, they nonetheless are "subordinate bodies." Roomkin, Union Structure, Internal Control, and Strike Activity, 29 Ind. & Lab. Rel. Rev. 198, 199 (1976). "Local unions are mere subdivisions of the national organizations whose constitutions provide for their government as a state does for its counties, cities, towns, and villages." W. Leiserson, American Trade Union Democracy 87 (1959) (emphasis added). Accord, id., at 280; Cook, Dual Government in Unions: A Tool for Analysis, 15 Ind. & Lab. Rel. Rev. 322, 330, 331 (1962). Thus, locals are creatures of the national or international union and, indirectly, of the workers. Obviously, then, union constitutions are not "contracts between . . . labor organizations"; the plain meaning of § 301 (a) does not confer jurisdiction over disputes arising out of violations of union constitutions.*fn1a

As we recently noted in Rubin v. United States, 449 U.S. 424, 430 (1981), "[when] we find the terms of a statute unambiguous, judicial inquiry is complete," unless unusual circumstances are present. One of those circumstances may be a clear indication in the legislative history that Congress intended some other meaning. Here, however, no such indication is present. The Court recognizes that "there is no specific legislative history on that phrase to explain what

[ 452 U.S. Page 629]

     Congress meant," ante, at 623; accordingly, the plain meaning, which does not confer jurisdiction over constitutional disputes, should govern. Indeed, JUSTICE BRENNAN, in the opinion for the Court in NLRB v. Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co., 388 U.S. 175, 185-187 (1967), amply demonstrated that the only discussion in the legislative history of regulating internal union matters indicates that the principal authors of the Act expressly disclaimed any intention of intervening in such disputes. See also ante, at 625-626.*fn2a

The Court attempts to explain these passages by saying that Congress, in enacting § 301 (a), merely was providing for the "enforcement . . . of freely entered into agreements . . ." Ante, at 626. This is no answer when the Court also holds that the substantive law applicable "'is federal law, which the courts must fashion from the policy of our national labor laws.'" Ante, at 627 (quoting Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.S. 448, 456 (1957)). Similarly, remarks in Committee Reports and on the floor regarding the accountability of unions for their agreements were all made in relation to collective-bargaining agreements with employers; there is no reference to a local's invoking the jurisdiction of the federal courts to enforce the provisions of union constitutions. Thus, the legislative history is fully consistent with holding that a union constitution is not a contract between labor organizations as such.

It is not irrelevant that, 12 years after the adoption of the Labor Management Relations Act in 1947, Congress expressly chose to engage in regulation of internal union matters by enacting the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 73 Stat. 519 (codified at 29 U. S. C. § 401 et seq.).*fn3a The Court has recognized before that the 1959 Act

[ 452 U.S. Page 630]

     was "the first comprehensive regulation by Congress of the conduct of internal union affairs . . . ." NLRB v. Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co., supra, at 193 (emphasis added). Moreover, the careful construction and the comprehensiveness of the provisions adopted in 1959 lead to a presumption that Congress deliberately excluded from the regulatory scheme other remedies regarding internal union disputes. See Texas Industries, Inc. v. Radcliff Materials, Inc., 451 U.S. 630, 644-645 (1981); Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Transport Workers, 451 U.S. 77, 97 (1981).*fn4a

When examined in terms of its plain meaning, its legislative history, and the whole fabric of federal labor law, § 301 (a) clearly does not confer jurisdiction over disputes under union constitutions. Moreover, the Court's decision today invites resort to the federal courts for cases better resolved outside the federal judiciary. Accordingly, I dissent.

JUSTICE STEVENS, with whom JUSTICE REHNQUIST joins, dissenting.

Congress has defined the essential elements of the Nation's labor policy by creating certain basic federal rights and providing procedures for their enforcement. To enable the federal

[ 452 U.S. Page 631]

     courts to carry out that basic policy, the Court in Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.S. 448, construed § 301 (a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, 61 Stat. 156, 29 U. S. C. § 185 (a), as a grant of authority to fashion substantive rules of law concerning the making and enforcement of contracts between management and labor. The question this case presents is whether that statute conferred any such lawmaking power on the federal courts in cases arising out of contracts between two labor organizations.

In Textile Workers v. Lincoln Mills, supra, the Court was presented with the question whether § 301 (a), which "is drafted in terms which appear to be exclusively jurisdictional," Textile Workers Union v. American Thread Co., 113 F.Supp. 137, 139 (Mass. 1953), was meant by Congress to be an authorization for "federal courts to fashion a body of federal law for the enforcement of . . . collective bargaining agreements . . . ." 353 U.S., at 451. After examining the legislative history of § 301, the Court concluded that Congress intended to make collective-bargaining agreements between unions and employers binding on both parties and, more importantly, to provide for a "procedure for making such agreements enforceable in the courts by either party." Id., at 453.*fn1b

[ 452 U.S. Page 632]

     Because Congress had unambiguously declared its purpose to encourage the collective-bargaining process by making collective-bargaining agreements enforceable by the Judiciary, see id., at 453-456, the Court concluded that the remedy fashioned by the District Court, specific performance of an agreement to arbitrate a dispute over a grievance, was a proper implementation of the national policy that Congress had defined. Thus the Court's holding that a federal court could order specific enforcement of such an agreement created a new rule of law not supported by express statutory authority. Rather it was one example of the "range of judicial inventiveness" implicitly authorized by Congress. Id., at 457. The Court also concluded that such authorization was not unconstitutional, because "[the] power of Congress to regulate these labor-management controversies under the Commerce Clause is plain." Ibid.*fn2b

[ 452 U.S. Page 633]

     Two important conclusions may be derived from the Court's opinion in Lincoln Mills. First, underlying the Court's holding was the settled principle that because of the effect of collective-bargaining agreements on industrial peace, the regulation of those agreements is a permissible exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause. Therefore, if § 301 authorized the creation of federal common law, then cases brought pursuant to that section would be cases "arising under" the "laws" of the United States within the meaning

[ 452 U.S. Page 634]

     of Art. III, § 2, of the Constitution.*fn3b Second, the legislative history of § 301 provided the basis for the Court's conclusion that § 301 was not merely a grant of jurisdiction in cases involving agreements between unions and employers but rather was a congressional authorization for the federal courts to create substantive rules to promote the important federal interests underlying the enforcement of collective-bargaining agreements. Therefore, the federal interest in industrial peace and the authorization to federal courts under § 301 to create rules to enforce collective-bargaining agreements have together resulted in the creation of federal rights for both unions and employers.*fn4b

Neither of the basic conclusions emerging from Lincoln Mills is applicable to suits on contracts between labor unions. First, there is no indication in the statute that Congress has concluded that disputes over contracts between unions present the threat to industrial peace sufficient to justify Congress' exercise of its power under the Commerce Clause.*fn5b

[ 452 U.S. Page 635]

     More importantly, even were there such indication, the legislative history of § 301 provides no support for a conclusion that Congress intended the courts to create substantive law to govern contractual disputes between unions. The legislative history of the clause relating to agreements between labor organizations does not contain even the "few shafts of light" which the Court in Lincoln Mills found helpful in construing the clause relating to contracts between employers and unions. As the Court recognizes, ante, at 623, "there is no specific legislative history on the phrase to explain what Congress meant." The absence of such legislative history dictates the conclusion that Congress intended the clause "or between any such labor organizations" to be a mere grant of jurisdiction over all cases arising out of contracts between unions in which a federal question otherwise exists.*fn6b There is no justification for the conclusion that Congress perceived contracts between unions to involve any federal interest sufficient to warrant the creation of federal rights.

As the Court construes the statute, however, it purports to confer authorization on federal courts to create substantive

[ 452 U.S. Page 636]

     federal common law to govern disputes between two unions over a union constitution. The local union in this case, however, has no federal right to autonomy and the international has no federal right to consolidate its locals. Congress has identified no national policy favoring or disfavoring the consolidation of local unions.*fn7b Unless contracts between unions have some form of federal protection, the statute as the Court construes it is the equivalent of a statute authorizing federal jurisdiction over all litigation between people named Smith, Jones, or Stevens. Some such cases would present federal questions; some would not.*fn8b One union may rent office space to another, lend it money, or manage its credit union. No federal power is implicated by contracts of that kind,*fn9b and no

[ 452 U.S. Page 637]

     federal rights support the conclusion that courts with the limited jurisdiction described in Art. III of the Constitution may adjudicate issues arising out of such contracts.*fn10b

The conclusion that suits on contracts between labor unions are not cases "arising under" federal law is further illustrated by the choice of law that district courts would have to make in such cases. The Court states, ante, at 627, that courts must follow the command of Lincoln Mills by fashioning the federal law by looking to the "'policy of our national labor laws.'" See Lincoln Mills, 353 U.S., at 456. But in explaining the conclusion that federal interests justified the creation of a body of law to govern the enforceability of collective-bargaining agreements, the Lincoln Mills Court indicated that the broad lawmaking powers would be limited and guided by "the penumbra of express statutory mandates" and "by looking at the policy of the legislation and fashioning a remedy that will effectuate that policy." Id., at 457. Five years later, in Teamsters v. Lucas Flour Co., 369 U.S. 95, the Court indicated that this national policy was best served by the establishment of a uniform body of law applicable to § 301 suits and held that state courts deciding § 301 suits must apply the federal common law.*fn11b In the context presented by

[ 452 U.S. Page 638]

     this case, however, because the statute does not give a clue as to the federal interest regarding contracts between unions, and because there is thus no federal scheme to follow, district courts will have little choice but to borrow state law.*fn12b Moreover, in the absence of some guideposts planted in federal interests, the ability to obtain -- and the need for -- uniformity will be greatly reduced. It is difficult to conceive how the Nation's interest in industrial peace will be served by the creation of a body of federal law which will be based on state law and which will in large part vary from State to State.

I believe that this case presents no substantive federal question.

[ 452 U.S. Page 639]

     *fn13b The case does not arise under "the laws of the United States," and the Court of Appeals was quite right in holding that it had no subject-matter jurisdiction.

I respectfully dissent.


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