Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



In 1962, the Supreme Court held in Sinclair Refining Co. v.Atkinson' that section 4 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act barred federal courts from enjoining union violations of no-strike clauses in collective bargaining agreements. Since Sinclair, violations of this type have been the subject of considerable discussion, but have resulted in little litigation. The number of man days lost as a result of no-strike clause violations is minimal and the frequency of these violations is so small that it is difficult to imagine that they have any great influence on the course of industrial relations. Nevertheless, lovers of symmetry have argued that the judicial shaping of Sinclair produced a piece that did not quite fit into the jigsaw puzzle of labor law. The Supreme Court in Boys Markets, Inc. v. Retail Clerks Local 770, hammered the piece into a new position, reasoning that it had to be made to fit even if its reshaping was by the Court rather than by Congress. The Court did not consider, as this article will attempt to demonstrate, that Sinclair was in its proper place, and that an additional adjustment to accommodate it with the National Labor Relations Act might better resolve the statutory conflict and restore symmetry.