© 2015 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co., et al and Charles Sawyer. The Steel Seizure Case Records, 1952
Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Motions, transcripts of proceedings, judicial opinions and briefs produced for or by the District Courts, Court of Appeals
and U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. et al. vs. Charles
Collection material in English
In the latter part of 1951, a dispute arose between the steel companies and their employees over terms and conditions that
should be included in new collective bargaining agreements. Long- continued conferences failed to resolve the dispute. On
December l8, 1951, the employees' representative United Steelworkers of America, CIO, gave notice of an intention to strike
"when the existing bargaining agreements expired on December 31. Thereupon the Federal Mediation and Conciliation
Service intervened in an effort to get labor and management to agree. This failing, the President on December 22, 1951
referred the dispute to the Federal Wage Stabilization Board to investigate and make recommendations for fair and equitable
terms of settlement. This Board's report resulted in no settlement. On April 4, 1952, the union gave notice of a nation-
wide strike called to begin at 12:01 a.m. April 9.
The indispensability of steel as a component of substantially all weapons and other war materials led the President to believe
that the proposed work stoppage would immediately jeopardize our national defense and that governmental seizure of the
steel mills was necessary in order to assure the continued availability of steel. Reciting these considerations for his
action, the President, a few hours before the strike was to begin, issued Executive Order 10340. The order directed the
Secretary of Commerce to take possession of and operate most of the steel mills throughout the country. The Secretary
immediately issued his own possessory orders, calling upon the presidents of the various seized companies to serve as
operating managers for the United States. They were directed to carry on their activities in accordance with regulations
and directions of the Secretary. The next morning the President sent a message to Congress reporting his action. Cong. Rec.
April 9, 1952 p. 3962. Twelve days later he sent a second message. Cong. Rec, April 21, 1952, p. 4192. Congress has taken
Obeying the Secretary's orders under protest, the companies brought proceedings against him in the District Court. Their complaints
charged that the seizure was not authorized by an act of Congress or by any constitutional provisions. The
District Court was asked to declare the orders of the President and the Secretary invalid and to issue preliminary and
permanent injunctions restraining their enforcement. Opposing the motion for preliminary injunction, the United States
asserted that a strike disrupting steel production for even a brief period would so endanger the well-being and safety
of the nation that the President has "inherent power" to do what he had done power "supported by the Constitution, by
historical precedent, and by court decisions.
The Government also contended that in any event no preliminary injunction should be issued because the companies had made
no showing that their available legal remedies were inadequate or that their injuries from seizure would be irreparable.
Holding against the Government on all points, the District Court on April 30 issued a preliminary injunction restraining
the Secretary from "continuing the seizure and possession of the plant... and from acting under the purported authority of
Executive Order No.10340." 103 F. Supp. 569. On the same day the Court of Appeals stayed the District Court's injunction.
Since the issues raised, 1. Should the final determination of the constitutional validity of the President's order be made
in a case which had reached only the preliminary injunction stage in the lower courts, and was the secure order within the
constitutional power of the president were constitutional questions which it seemed best to decide promptly. The Supreme
Court granted certiorari on May 3 and rendered its decision on June 2, 1952. By a 6 to 3 ruling they held that the
President has no authority under the Constitution to seize private property of industry by executive order on the grounds
that a work stoppage is imminent as a result of a labor dispute and that continued operation of the industry's facilities
is necessary because of a national emergency.
Summary: Include motions, transcripts of proceedings, judicial opinions and briefs produced for or by the District Courts,
Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. et al. vs. Charles Sawyer.
The collection includes the motion for temporary restraining order filed by Republic Steel Corporation (1952); official transcript
in the case of "Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, et al. vs. Charles Sawyer", District Court for the District of
Columbia (1952); transcript of the proceedings before Judge David A. Pine, District Court for the District of Columbia
(1952); opinion of Judge Pine on issuance of a preliminary injunction, "Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, et al. vs. Charles
Sawyer" (n.d.); and memorandum filed in United States Court of Appeals by Charles Sawyer motioning for a stay of execution
on the preliminary injunction (1952).
Also included are numerous Writs of Certiorari and briefs of Amici Curiae given before the Supreme Court, including briefs
of Amici Curiae submitted by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen,
the Order of Railway Conductors of America, the United Steelworkers of America, the Congress of Industrial Organizations,
Evert Lyman (attorney, State of California), and American Legion Post No. 88, Norman, Okla.
Also included is the official "Opinion of the Court," of the United States Supreme Court (1952). Other documents relating
to various aspects of the case include an address by Clarence B. Randall (president, Inland Steel); and speeches by Richard
M. Nixon and Hubert H. Humphrey, before the U.S. Senate (1952).
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen
Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen
Order of Railway Conductors of America
Republic Steel Corporation
United Steelworkers of America
Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company
Randall, Clarence B.
Sawyer, Charles, 1887-
Labor injunctions. Steel industry. United States.
Nationalization. Steel industry. United States.
Strikes and lockouts. Steel industry. United States.
Trade-unions. Iron and steel workers. United States.