Congress, through the 1947 addition of section 10(j) to the National Labor Relations Act, authorized district courts to grant preliminary injunctive relief for unfair labor practices if they deem such relief “just and proper.” To this day a circuit split persists over the correct interpretation of this “just and proper” standard. Some circuits interpret “just and proper” to require application of the traditional equitable principles approach that normally governs preliminary injunctions. Other circuits interpret “just and proper” to require an analysis of whether injunctive relief is necessary to preserve the National Labor Relations Board’s remedial power. This Note examines the justifications behind these two interpretations in light of section 10(j)’s statutory structure—most notably, the use of the just and proper standard in two other provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. It also considers the legislative history of section 10(j) and the public policy consequences underlying Congress’s mandate granting the Board exclusive jurisdiction to seek injunctive relief in court under section 10(j). This Note argues that an examination of these factors reveals that Congress intended for courts to focus their section 10(j) analysis on the preservation of the National Labor Relations Board’s remedial power rather than on traditional equitable principles.
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