« AnteriorContinuar »
judgment was affirmed by the State supreme court which held that interstate commerce was affected but that State laws were not preempted, reasoning that the NLRB had no jurisdiction as a political subdivision was a party to the suit, and political subdivisions are expressly excluded from the definition of employer in the NLRA.
Reversing the decision of the State court, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the dispute affected interstate commerce and was the kind of litigation over which the NLRB normally has exclusive power. Moreover, the Court pointed out that the NLRB is empowered to issue complaints whenever it is charged that any person subject to the act is engaged in any proscribed unfair labor practice, and the Board regulations allow such a charge to be filed by any “person". Inasmuch as political subdivisions are not excepted from the definition of "person,” the municipal corporation was entitled to file a charge in this instance, the Court held, and therefore exclusive jurisdiction rests with the NLRB.
may be arbitrary, it is easily complied with. This decision was affirmed by the court of appeals.
Reversing the decision of the lower court, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the checkoff provisions of the Railway Labor Act give employers and unions no authority to restrict an employee's individual freedom of decision by regulations, reasonable or otherwise. It merely requires a writing attributable to the employee and fairly expressing a revocation of his assignment. To
Το minimize procedural problems, the Court stated, the employer and union might establish a suggested, rather than mandatory, procedure for revocation which would impose no requirements other than those in the statute, recognizing that a requirement of any extra step may be burdensome to the individual employee who is not "equipped" for correspondence. Moreover, the Court rejected the argument that the individual employee is bound by the requirement in the collective bargaining agreement, stating that the labor organization cannot function as the employees' agent in waiving their statutory rights.
In the opinion of the dissenting justices, the contract provision requiring that revocation be made through the union on forms supplied by the union is just and practical as applied to the employer, the union, and the employees, and is a reasonable arrangement for the businesslike administration of the checkoff. In addition, these justices averred that neither a declaratory judgment nor injunctive relief are warranted in this instance, as this employee-plaintiff is not entitled to extraordinary relief when he could have avoided any injury simply by executing another revocation on the form which the union provided.
"Checkoff” Revocation Forms. The U.S. Supreme Court held 10 that a provision in a collective bargaining agreement which required an employee to revoke his "checkoff" authorization only on forms furnished by the union was invalid under the Railway Labor Act.
In this case, an employer refused to honor an 1 employee's written revocation of his dues deduc
tion authorization, asserting that the agreement between the employer and the union required the use of forms provided by the union and forwarded by that organization to the employer. The employee sought injunctive relief in a Federal district court and a declaration that he had complied with requirements for an effective revocation under section 2 Eleventh (b) of the Railway Labor Act, which provides that checkoff agreements are effective only with respect to those employees who furnish the employer with a written authorization which shall be revocable in writing. ...” A Federal district court, in denying the injunction, held the requirement valid. It reasoned that although the formal revocation requirement in the collective bargaining agreement
Veterans' Reemployment Rights
Rights of Employees on Annual Training. A Federal district court has made the first interpretation of section 9(g) (3) of the Universal Military Training and Service Act, holding 11 that an employer may not impose conditions on or terminate the leave of a reservist absent for annual
a field training
The employee on this case was hired on June 28, 1954, and on July 26, 1954, he enlisted in the Army Reserve. Before June 1956, he notified his employer that he was obligated to take unit field training for 2 weeks, beginning July 8th. He left
20 Felter v. Southern Pacific Co. (U.S. Sup. Ct., April 27, 1959). 11 Variant v. Araujo (U.S.D.C., N. Calif., May 1, 1959).
for this purpose at the close of work on July 6th; later the same day, the employer hired a permanent replacement. On the morning after his training was finished, the reservist applied for reinstatement which was denied. He continued to seek reinstatement until October 30, 1956, and later brought an action for damages for violation of the law.
The court, deciding in the trainee's favor, held that section 9(g) (3) of the act creates a statutory leave of absence and that an employer cannot impose conditions on the leave or terminate it. The leave is ended when the trainee makes application for reinstatement and is reinstated. Any action by the employer which denies the trainee a leave of absence or fails to accord him the status of an employee on his application for reinstatement violates the statute.
The court ruled that the reservist had met all conditions for statutory reemployment rights and was on statutory leave when his employment relationship was unlawfully terminated. Compensatory damages were awarded from July 23, 1956, to October 30, 1956, the date when the reservist no longer desired reinstatement.
Coverage of Airline Catering. A Federal court of appeals, reversing a district court, held 13 that employees preparing and delivering meals to planes for service to first-class passengers on interstate flights were producing goods for commerce and thus were within the coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and that a restaurant deriving over 25 percent of its annual gross receipts from the sale of these flight meals could not qualify for exemption from the act's requirements as a "retail or service establishment."
The court rejected the defendant's argument that the meals, designed for immediate eating, were not "goods" under the act's definition, which expressly excludes goods after their delivery to the ultimate consumer. On this point, the decision followed Powell v. U.S. Cartridge Co.,14 where the Supreme Court held that delivery of goods to the ultimate consumer before interstate transportation could not deprive the employees who produced the goods of the act’s benefits.
The defendant also contended that its sales of flight meals were of a retail nature, since the airlines made no specific charge for them and termed them a "gratuity” furnished to first-class passengers. The court, however, referring to the rule that the retail exemption is to be narrowly construed, found that there was such a resale as to defeat the claimed exemption, since the meals were purchased for a definite number of passengers on each flight, and their cost entered into computation of passenger fares as an operating expense.
Wages and Hours
Informer's Privilege Under FLSA. A U.S. court of appeals ruled 12 that the U.S. Secretary of Labor need not divulge the names of employees who have made statements to him concerning alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In an injunction action against the alleged violations of the FLSA, the Secretary, at the defendant's request, listed the names of 85 persons known or believed to have knowledge of the violations charged, but declined to identify persons who had furnished written statements pertaining thereto. The trial court, having ruled that the Secretary was required to answer the defendant's questions, dismissed the complaint for failure to comply with the order.
In reversing, the appellate court relied upon the common law privilege for communications by in
12 Mitchell v. Roma (C.A. 3, Apr. 14, 1959).
13 Mitchell v. Sherry Corine Corp., 264 F. 2d 831 (C.A. 4, Mar. 13, 1959).
14 339 U.S. 497 (1950).
Chronology of Recent Labor Events
dren's coats and suits in a four-State area centering in New York City. The pact, covering 50,000 workers, extends to pieceworkers provisions for premium pay for overtime work and holiday pay—already in effect for timeworkers—and provides for an employer-financed severance pay fund. (See also p. 797 of this issue.
May 1, 1959
THE U.S. RUBBER Co. and the United Rubber Workers reached an agreement to end a strike that had idled 26,000 workers since April 9. Among the terms were improved retirement provisions, including company agreement to fund the pension plan, plus expanded medical insurance coverage and supplemental unemployment benefits. Wages were not an issue. (See also p. 797 of this issue.)
THE NEW YORK STATE Board of Standards and Appeals ruled that the minimum hourly wage rates of $1 and 70 cents for nonresort hotel service and nonservice workers, respectively, established by order of the State Industrial Commissioner in 1957 (see Chron. item for Nov. 15, 1957, MLR, Jan. 1958), may not apply to employees outside New York City because the order had not taken into account "the value of the service or the class of service rendered [by employees] within the meaning of the law ..."
ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE in Honolulu that the Governor of Hawaii had signed the Omnibus Unemployment Compensation Act which extends coverage to seasonal agricultural workers. To be eligible for benefits, a worker must have worked 30 weeks or a minimum of 20 weeks in a seasonal job and had other employment to attain total minimum earnings of $400.
THE National Labor Relations Board ruled (3-2) that a union-security contract which required employees to maintain “membersbip in good standing ... in accordance with (union) constitution and bylaws,” when read in its entirety, did not violate the Taft-Hartley Act, since another clause did not permit the union to seek the discharge of employees whose membership has been terminated but who continued to pay financial obligations. The case was Zangerle Peterson Co. and International Union, United Industrial Workers.
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT ruled, in Arroyo v. United States, that a union representative who misappropriated funds given him by employers as payment to a welfare fund, of which he was a trustee, did not violate the TaftHartley Act's prohibition on employer payments to employee representatives. The Court held the payments were within the exemption from such prohibition for payments to welfare funds. (See also p. 784 of this issue.)
On the same day, the High Court ruled that a political subdivision of a State, which had joined a contractor in a State court action to enjoin peaceful picketing at a county construction project should, instead, have sought relief from the National Labor Relations Board since the activity met the Board's jurisdictional standards and the alleged purposes of the picketing would, if proved, constitute an unfair labor practice under the Labor Management Relations Act. The Court held that the subdivision is within the Board's definition of any "person” permitted to file charges under the act. The case was Local 298, Plumbers Union v. County of Door. (See also p. 786 of this issue).
EXECUTIVES of the Neo Gravure Printing Co., Weehawken, N.J., testified before the Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field that it had paid over $307,000 during the past 14 years for providing a shield against labor troubles to Harold Gross, a convicted extortionist and current president of Teamster Local 320 in Miami Beach, Fla., and four members of his family—all of whom were still on the company payroll—and a New York longshore union leader, Cornelius Noonan. Representatives of the New York Times and the New York Daily Mirror admitted on the stand that their papers during a 1948 truckers' strike had paid Neo Gravure to clear the way for delivery of Sunday supplements from the printing firm. Following the testimony, Gross was dropped from Neo Gravure's payroll and, on May 15, was arrested in Miami Beach for continuing to operate as a union business agent after his license had been canceled.
THE CLOAKMAKERS JOINT BOARD of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union signed a 3-year contract, effective June 1, with manufacturers of women's and chil
A MINIMUM WAGE BILL, providing a rate of 75 cents hourly for North Carolina workers, effective January 1, 1960, was ratified. Excluded from coverage were agricultural workers, outside salesmen, persons receiving tips in addition to wages, and workers aged 65 years or over.
STUART ROTHMAN, solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor since July 1953, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a 4-year term as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. He replaced Jerome J. Fenton, who had resigned on March 14 but remained in office pending the appointment of his successor.
AT THE CONCLUSION of its 4-day meeting in Washington, D.C., the AFL-CIO Executive Council voiced its opposition to the Kennedy-Erwin labor-reform bill, passed by the U.S. Senate, and among other actions reiterated its past demands for Federal legislation to raise the legal minimum wage rate and establish Federal standards for unemployment compensation, postponed action in the case of Carpenter union President Maurice A. Hutcheson, and referred a dispute between the United Steelworkers and the Federation's Metal Trades Department to the Executive Committee for further study. (See also p. 792 of this issue.)
ACTING IN LINE with the U.S. Supreme Court finding in Hotel Employees Local 255 v. Leedom (see Chron. item for Nov. 24, 1958, MLR, Jan. 1959), the NLRB announced that it would exercise jurisdiction over nonresidential hotels and motels with a gross annual business of $500,000.
THE COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS and the Southern Bell Telephone Co. agreed on a 15-month contract for about 55,000 workers in 9 States, providing for weekly wage increases of $2 to $5 for plant craftsmen and related clerical personnel and $1 to $3 for traffic and other clerical employees. (See also p. 796 of this issue.)
REVERSING AN NLRB DECISION, the Federal court of appeals in St. Louis ruled that a union violated the secondary boycott prohibition of the Taft-Hartley Act when it picketed a tool and die company to support its strike against a plastics company, even though there was evidence of common ownership and control of the two companies. The court held that the activities of the companies were not so closely integrated as to justify a conclusion that the two companies constitute one employer within the meaning of the act. The case was Bachman Machine Co. v. NLRB.
MAYOR WAGNER of New York City appointed a three-man factfinding panel to investigate a strike by nonprofessional workers at six nonprofit hospitals which had begun on May 8 in spite of New York Supreme Court orders forbidding the strike. Wages and recognition of Local 1199, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union are at issue.
PRESIDENT EISENHOWER signed a bill amending the Railroad Retirement and Unemployment Insurance Acts, increasing railroad workers' retirement benefits by one-tenth and maximum unemployment benefits by one fifth, effective June 1. The duration of unemployment benefits was extended on a length-of-service basis. (See also p. 795 of this issue.)
A 10-DAY STRIKE of 115 carpenters, which at one time idled 5,000 construction workers at the missile launching base at Cape Canaveral, Fla., and nearby Patrick Air Force Base, ended in a 2-year agreement, including 40 cents an hour in pay increases, with Associated General Contractors.
IN TWO COMPANION CASES, the California Supreme Court ruled that right-to-work ordinances of two counties were invalid since they contravened the State's statutory policy guaranteeing employees freedom to organize and select representatives for collective bargaining and, further, that they partially duplicated the State's policy prohibiting jurisdictional-organizational assaults upon the valid employee-employer relationships. The cases were Chavez v. Sargent and Local 1364, Retail Clerk: v. Superior Court of State of California.
Two CONSUMER GROUPS in the field of prepaid medical care-the Group Health Federation of America and the American Labor Health Association-merged at a New York City meeting to form the Group Health Association of America, whose affiliates represent more than 6 million consumers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The event was hailed in the cooperative movement as "a milestone in the history of the work for application of cooperative methods to the solution of problems
of health economics." A recent decision of the American Medical Association removed its previous opposition to groups providing prepaid medical care.
national Union, with 23,000 dues-paying members, was completed as delegates from the two unions met in Chicago in a founding convention. (See also p. 793 of this issue.)
Later in the month, the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA) announced that its members and those of the Brotherhood of Marine Engineers (associated with the Seafarers' Union) had voted through referendum to merge their unions. By the merger agree ment, the Brotherhood will enter into MEBA Local 101, which has jurisdiction in the Great Lakes area.
A FEDERAL GRAND JURY in Los Angeles indicted Teamster Local 626 and four union members (including Mike Singer, business agent of the local) on charges of conspiring to control the area's yellow grease export market by strikes and picketing and threats of such actions.
Two days later, 13 Teamster officials and members, in| cluding John O'Rourke, an international vice president
and president of the New York Teamsters Joint Council, were arrested following indictment by a Nassau County (N.Y.) grand jury on charges of extortion in the juke box industry.
NEGOTIATING UNDER a reopening clause of a 3-year contract, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and leading shirt, pajamas, and cotton-garment manufacturers reached an agreement covering about 100,000 workers and providing for a 7.5-cent hourly wage increase and additional fringe benefits, effective on August 31. (See also p. 797 of this issue.)
A SUBCOMMITTEE on labor-management legislation of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee ended a 2-day session in Los Angeles, having heard three men testify that they had been expelled from the Machinists' District Lodge 727-E for alleged "conduct unbecoming union members," namely, actively supporting the “right to work" proposal on the 1958 California ballot which the union unqualifiedly opposed. The men did not lose their jobs as a result of the expulsion, nor did the union request-nor could have lawfully effected—their discharge. In upholding the local's decision, Machinist President Albert J. Hayes said that the constitutional right to freely express one's views “does not mean that a member of our association is entitled to openly denounce the considered position of the labor movement and particularly of his own organization, without the possibility of losing his rights to retain his standing as an I. A. of M. union member."
MERGEB of the Insurance Agents International Union (formerly AFL) and the Insurance Workers of America (formerly CIO) into the Insurance Workers Inter