Labor Law – Labor-Management Relations Act – Strike During Life of Contract Under a Reopening Provision

A collective bargaining agreement between Lion Oil Company and the union provided that if either party should desire to amend, notice should be served on the other, but not before August 24, 1951. The contract could be terminated by giving sixty days notice to terminate if agreement could not be reached within the sixty days following notice to amend. The contract did not contain a no-strike clause. The union gave notice on August 24, 1951 of its desire to amend, and having reached no agreement, struck on April 30, 1952 without having served notice to terminate. Both parties agreed that the contract remained in force at this time. The Labor-Management Relations Act prohibits a strike after notice to terminate or modify “for a period of sixty days . . . or until the expiration date of such contract, whichever occurs later.” An NLRB order held that the strike was permissible. This order was set aside by the court of appeals. On certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, held, reversed. The term “expiration date” as used in section 8 (d) (4) includes the earliest date during the life of the contract when modification may take effect, and since the union gave proper notice and did not strike within sixty days or before the date when modification could be effective, it was not guilty of an unfair labor practice. NLRB v. Lion Oil Co., 352 U.S. 282 (1957).