Thunder Basin Coal Co. v. Reich, 510 U.S. 200, 6 (1994)

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Cite as: 510 U. S. 200 (1994)

Opinion of the Court

Rather than post the designations and before receiving the MSHA letter, petitioner filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming for pre-enforcement injunctive relief. Id., at 6. Petitioner contended that the designation of nonemployee UMWA "representatives" violated the principles of collective-bargaining representation under the NLRA as well as the company's NLRA rights to exclude union organizers from its property. Id., at 9-10. Petitioner argued then, as it does here, that deprivation of these rights would harm the company irreparably by "giv-[ing] the union organizing advantages in terms of access, personal contact and knowledge that would not be available under the labor laws, as well as enhanced credibility flowing from the appearance of government imprimatur." Reply Brief for Petitioner 14.

Petitioner additionally alleged that requiring it to challenge the MSHA's interpretation of 30 U. S. C. 813(f) and 30 CFR pt. 40 through the statutory-review process would violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, since the company would be forced to choose between violating the Act and incurring possible escalating daily penalties,6 or, on the other hand, complying with the designations and suffering irreparable harm. The District Court enjoined respondents from enforcing 30 CFR pt. 40, finding that

6 Petitioner relied for this proposition on a similar case in which a mine operator refused to post the designation of a UMWA employee, a citation was issued, and the MSHA ordered abatement within 24 hours and threatened to impose daily civil penalties. See Kerr-McGee Coal Corp. v. Secretary, 15 F. M. S. H. R. C. 352 (1993), appeal pending, No. 93-1250 (CADC). Kerr-McGee complied but contested the citation. An administrative law judge rejected the operator's claim, and the Commission affirmed, holding that 813(f) did not violate the NLRA. 15 F. M. S. H. R. C., at 362-363. The Commission eventually fined Kerr-McGee a total of $300 for its noncompliance.


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