Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Closed Shop Definition:

A place of employment where the employer hires only union members.

Related Terms: Union Shop, Union

Justice Rand used these words in Ford Motor Co. of Canada v. U.A.W.-I.C.O.:

"A union shop permits the employer to engage employees at large, but requires that within a stated time after engagement they join the union or be dismissed if they do not.

"This is to be distinguished from what is known as a closed shop in which only a member of the union can be originally employed, which in turn means that the union becomes the source from which labour is obtained."

In Chavez v Sargent, Justice Schauer of the Supreme Court of California incorporated these words within the opinion of the court, also distinguishing a closed shop from a union shop:

"A closed shop is an establishment in which the employer by agreement hires and retains in employment only union members in good standing, except that, by some agreements, when union members are unavailable, the employer may hire nonunion workers provided they apply for union membership or obtain work permits before beginning work.

"A union shop is an establishment in which the employer by agreement is free to hire nonmembers as well as members of the union but retains nonmembers on the payroll only on condition of their becoming members of the union within a specified time."

Justice Lummus of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, in Thorn v Foy, described the legal term as follows:

"(A) closed shop (is) one in which none but members of a labor union are employed."

In 1952, this pronouncement of law from the Court of Civil Appeals of Texas in Texas v Brown & Root:

"By closed shop we mean one in which membership in a union by the employee is required in order to obtain or retain employment."

Similarly, the Supreme Court of Missouri in American Hotel Co. v. Bartenders' International League of America:

"We accept as true the testimony of the plaintiff's president that the executive secretary of Local No. 422 was soliciting plaintiff's signature to a closed shop agreement. Such agreement, we suppose, contemplates that none but members of a labor union are to be employed, and in this case we infer the executive secretary was seeking a closed shop agreement whereby none but members of the labor union Local No. 422 were to be employed."


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