Labor Law-Collective Bargaining Agreements-Implied Limitation on Management’s Right to Subcontract

During the existence of a collective bargaining agreement which included both exclusive recognition and union shop clauses but did not include a management prerogatives clause, defendant employer, without the consent of the plaintiff union, contracted out janitorial work which had previously been performed by three of its employees. Subsequently, these employees were laid off and the plaintiff’s protest, though in compliance with all grievance procedures, was unsuccessful. Thereupon, the plaintiff sought declaratory judgment relief under section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, alleging that the defendant had no right to subcontract work customarily performed on its premises by its employees to individuals who were neither defendant’s employees nor members of the plaintiff union covered by the collective bargaining agreement. The district court held that the defendant, by its unilateral action, had breached the agreement. On appeal, held, affirmed, one judge dissenting. The right to subcontract is limited by implication from the union shop provision, for if the defendant could unilaterally replace its employees with those of an independent contractor the intended purpose of that provision might be subverted. Local 391, UAW v. Webster Elec. Co., 299 F.2d 195 (7th Cir. 1962).