Local Union No. 189, Amalgamated Meat Cutters v. Jewel Tea Co.

381 U.S. 676 (1965)

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Local Union No. 189, Amalgamated Meat Cutters v. Jewel Tea Co.

United States Supreme Court
381 U.S. 676 (1965)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD

Facts

In 1919, Chicago butchers struck to protest working 81-hour, seven-day work weeks. Subsequent labor agreements reduced their working hours to eight hours a day. In 1957, Local Union No. 189, Amalgamated Meat Cutters (defendant) negotiated an agreement with an association of full-service and self-service meat dealers that prohibited serving customers outside 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Jewel Tea Co. (plaintiff) had self-service meat markets in 174 of its 196 stores and sought a modification to sell meat after 6 p.m. on Fridays, but signed the agreement after the unions threatened to strike. Jewel sued the unions and a union officer (defendants), alleging they conspired with the association to set marketing-hour restrictions that violated federal antitrust law. Jewel argued its self-service markets did not need butchers on duty, so the restriction unlawfully impeded use of its property and adversely affected members of the general public who found daytime shopping inconvenient. The unions argued the restriction fell exclusively within the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the labor exemption to antitrust law. But the judge found no evidence of a conspiracy. Instead, the judge found that even in self-service markets, removing the restriction would increase butchers’ hours or workload. In stores outside Chicago, Jewel itself kept butchers on duty past 6 p.m. and used other employees to maintain self-service departments. Night operations also added to butcher workloads the next day. The judge concluded that the marketing restriction served union interests and fell within the labor exemption to antitrust law. But the appellate court reversed, and the association and unions appealed. The Supreme Court granted review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

Concurrence (Goldberg, J.)

Dissent (Douglas, J.)

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