LOCATION: Beaumont Mills
DOCKET NO.: 604
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
CITATION: 374 US 74 (1963)
ARGUED: Apr 24, 1963 / Apr 25, 1963
DECIDED: Jun 10, 1963
Facts of the case
Media for Division 1287, Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway & Motor Coach Employees of America v. MissouriAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 25, 1963 in Division 1287, Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway & Motor Coach Employees of America v. Missouri
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 24, 1963 in Division 1287, Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway & Motor Coach Employees of America v. Missouri
Number 604 Division 1287 of the Amalgamated Association of State Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America et al., versus Missouri.
May it please the Court?
A Missouri statute known as the King-Thomson Act provides that when the Governor of the state determines that an actual or threatened strike by a union against the utility jeopardizes the public interest, health and welfare, the Governor is authorized to take possession of the utility.
If the utility is taken over, the statute makes unlawful any strike to enforce demands against the utility or against the state.
Our principle question is whether the King-Thompson Act, which prohibits a strike to enforce demands during seizure is in conflict with and therefore preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act, which protects the right to strike and to bargain collectively, of which the right to strike is an indispensable part.
Now our question arises in these circumstances.
The utility here is the Kansas City Transit, Inc.
It's an interstate enterprise, which transports passengers by bus in and between the states of Kansas and Missouri.
In 1943, the National Labor Relations Board certified the appellant union as the bargaining representative of bus drivers, mechanics and others who worked for the company.
Since 1943 collective bargaining agreements have been entered into between the utility and the union governing the employment terms of these persons.
A collective bargaining agreement was due to expire on October 31, 1961.
Negotiations began in the Fall of that year looking towards improved contract terms.
An impasse ensued.
The deadlock was over wages, paid vacations, group insurance and other such bread and butter issues. Unable to resolve the deadlock, and the company refusing to agree to voluntary arbitration of new contract terms, the men voted to strike.
The strike was to begin at midnight November 13,, 1961.
Three days before the strike was to begin the union notified all concerned of the time it would start.
On November 13th the same day that the strike was to begin, the Governor of Missouri issued a proclamation in which he stated that the threatened strike would jeopardize the public interest, health and welfare and he was there for taking over the utility.
Taking over the utility meant no more than that the agent of the Governor deliver to the President of the company this proclamation and two, implementing executive orders.
Nothing changed as a consequence of the takeover.
The employees remained as they were employees of the company.
They did not become employees of the state.
Arthur J. Goldberg:
When you say nothing changed, do mean nothing changed as a matter of fact [Inaudible]
As a matter of fact, the one change, which took place was that by operation of law the strike was prohibited.
As a matter of fact nothing changed other than to prohibit that strike.
The employment relationship continued to be within the exclusive dominion of the company.
Arthur J. Goldberg:
All the statute says as I read it, is that the state takes possession.
It does not in anyway detail what constitutes possession or what the Governor might do if he took possession. As a matter of fact in this case we know that, that what happened is that nothing happened except that the strike was prohibited.