Iowa Beef Packers, Inc. v. Thompson

PETITIONER: Iowa Beef Packers, Inc.
LOCATION: Bay Marchand Area

DOCKET NO.: 70-286
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: Iowa Supreme Court

CITATION: 405 US 228 (1972)
ARGUED: Jan 12, 1972
DECIDED: Feb 29, 1972

A. Raymond Randolph, Jr. - for the United States as amicus curiae, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court
Erwin N. Griswold - for petitioner
Louis S. Goldberg - for petitioner
Raymond Edward Franck - for respondents

Facts of the case


Media for Iowa Beef Packers, Inc. v. Thompson

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 12, 1972 in Iowa Beef Packers, Inc. v. Thompson

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in Number 70-286, Iowa Beef Packers against Edward Thompson.

Mr. Solicitor General.

Erwin N. Griswold:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

I move that A. Raymond Randolph be authorized to appear as for the United States as amicus curiae in this case.

Mr. Randolph is a member of my staff, a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of California and I believe he is well qualified.

Warren E. Burger:

Your motion is granted, Mr. Solicitor General.

We will be glad to hear from Mr. Randolph.

Mr. Goldberg.

Louis S. Goldberg:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

There is a motion in this case.

It is called by the respondent has called a suggestion of the writ having being improvidently granted and we have a resistance on the file for that.

As I understand the rule of the Court, there is to be no oral argument as to that motion.

Warren E. Burger:

The grant was limited.

Louis S. Goldberg:

On the merits, if I may at the outset, I would like to present very briefly the three central points that petitioner believes are critical in this case.

One is that the case invites a policy decision in the area of labor management relations and they urge that the decision of this Court in the Republic Steel against Maddox governs this case.

Number two, the substantive rights involved in this case, as in Maddox, derives simply from the contract, the collective bargain agreement, there is not such right is provided for in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Third, that our case is not at all an attack on the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Our contract does not diminish rights under the Act.

It enlarges rights.

Now, the facts here are quite simple.

Iowa Beef was and is engaged in the processing of meat and the shipment of meat interstate throughout the country.

The 14 respondents who bought -- who brought 14 separate actions in this case were employed and some of them are still employed by Iowa Beef in the Maintenance and Repair Department to keep the machinery in operation for production.

They worked under a collective bargaining agreement which is set out in the record.

The agreement provides, among other things, for a lunch period.

The respondents argue that -- did argue in the court below and that was sustained by the courts below on the facts, as to those facts, they argued that because the machinery broke down from time to time, they were called upon to do repair work during their lunch time, even though they got the lunch time later on or even when they were not actually called upon, that they were subject to call during their lunch time, in case there was a breakdown, for those reasons, the respondents argued that there was a violation of the collective bargaining agreement by the petitioner which then they say gave rise to a course of action under Fair Labor Standards Act.

Now, the collective bargaining agreement also provides for grievance procedures and for arbitration in three or four steps.

Instead of proceeding through the grievance procedures, the respondents began these 14 separate actions directly under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Iowa Court sustained them on the merits of their claim and we do not challenge that here while we do not agree with the correctness of it.

But we did challenge, by answer and by motion, the point that these respondents should have applied or attempted the grievance and arbitration provisions, instead of proceeding directly to Court action of the Fair Labor Standards Acts.

That was overruled and incidentally on the record, the record on page 4 of the record plainly states that these respondents admitted that they did not attempt to utilize the grievance procedures.