Jackson Transit Authority v. Local Division 1285, Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO-CLC

PETITIONER: Jackson Transit Authority
RESPONDENT: Local Division 1285, Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO-CLC
LOCATION: Furnace Woods School

DOCKET NO.: 81-411
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 457 US 15 (1982)
ARGUED: Apr 21, 1982
DECIDED: Jun 07, 1982

Joseph S. Kaufman - on behalf of the Petitioners
Linda R. Hirshman - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Jackson Transit Authority v. Local Division 1285, Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO-CLC

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 21, 1982 in Jackson Transit Authority v. Local Division 1285, Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO-CLC

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in Jackson Transit Authority against the union.

I think you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Joseph S. Kaufman:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

This case directly brings before the Court today the provisions of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 for the first time.

The issue presented to the Court today is whether by enacting UMTA, and particularly Section 13(c) thereof, Congress silently required federal courts to federalize municipal transit labor relations over federal grant recipients by creating a federal common law to resolve public sector transit labor disputes and thereby preempt state law.

In the first instance, the District Court in this case answered that question negatively.

the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in a two-to-one decision reversed.

It implied a federal private right of action by default.

Since the decision of the Sixth Circuit, another Circuit Court has reviewed this matter comprehensively and ruled to the contrary, that being the Eleventh Circuit in the MARTA case.

This controversy that reaches the Court today is between two private parties, Jackson and the union.

There is no federal interest in the outcome of this litigation.

There are no federal parties presently before this Court, and the substantive outcome of this controversy requires neither construction, interpretation nor vindication of UMTA.

Additionally, in this case there is no conflict between any federal interest and the law of Tennessee.

Tennessee law clearly establishes collective bargaining between municipalities and its transit workers.

The outcome of this case will have no substantive... will have no effect on the substantive rights or duties of the United States.


Well, that's true in a lot of cases, Mr. Kaufman, where nonetheless a federal right of action has been implied, isn't it?

J. I. Case v. Borak and cases like that?

Joseph S. Kaufman:

--Well, yes, sir, but the J. I. v. Borak has been somewhat cut back by your more recent decisions.

But even in some of our... those cases where a private right of action has been implied, say Cannon v. University of Chicago, there there was no federal party or the United States wasn't a party.

Joseph S. Kaufman:

But there was a direct command in the statutes involved in those cases which is not true here, as I will point out in a moment.

I might point out, sirs, that UMTA was on the books for some 12 years before the union sought to utilize the federal courts to bring actions such as this nature.

This was one of the first attempts.

If the decision of the Sixth Circuit is affirmed, municipal transit labor relations will be decided in two courts, in state courts as well as federal courts.

Now, the events in this case are somewhat unique.

Prior to 1966, for approximately 20 some odd years, there was a private transit operator in Jackson, Tennessee.

The union represented the transit workers in that community.

In 1966 the Jackson Transit Company, as was happening throughout the country with other transit systems, went defunct.

The city, in its judgment, as a public function, took over the operation of a bus system containing 12 buses and 18 unionized employees.

Jackson filed for and received an Urban Mass Transportation Act grant in the amount of $275,000 to assist in acquiring 12 new buses and rehabilitating its maintenance facilities.