Local 174, Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers of America v. Lucas Flour Company

PETITIONER: Local 174, Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers of America
RESPONDENT: Lucas Flour Company
LOCATION: Herricks School District

DOCKET NO.: 50
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 369 US 95 (1962)
ARGUED: Nov 07, 1961 / Nov 08, 1961
DECIDED: Mar 05, 1962

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Local 174, Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers of America v. Lucas Flour Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 08, 1961 in Local 174, Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers of America v. Lucas Flour Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 07, 1961 in Local 174, Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers of America v. Lucas Flour Company

Earl Warren:

Number 50, Local 170 -- 174, Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Petitioner, versus Lucas Flour Company.

Mr. Hoague.

Francis Hoague:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This action is here on writ of certiorari to review a money judgment of a state court against the petitioning union and in favor of the employer, respondent here for damages -- based on damages caused by a strike.

The respondent, a flour broker, had a union shop agreement with the union which provided in part, the employer reserves the right to discharge any man in his employ if his work is not satisfactory.

This action had its origin on the morning of May 12, 1958 when an elderly employee, Jack Welch, drove a forklift truck off of the loading dock of the company, dropped some five feet, injured the forklift truck and injured himself.

He went home for 10 or 12 days under doctor's care, received a -- a week's accumulated vacation pay and when he received his vacation check (Inaudible) so he picked it up, there was a note with it, which Your Honors will find on -- in the record on page 219, memo from Nick Lucas.

“Jack, the enclosed check covers your second week of vacation.

We have decided that it would be better to take the next -- to take next week off for part of your vacation and then should we be busy the following week, I will call you, otherwise, take the second week of your vacation and rest, signed Pete.”

This of course meant to Welch that he was not to be paid with this vacation without pay.

He went to the union.

The union said get a doctor's -- a note from his doctor saying that he was ready to return to work.

Potter Stewart:

Who was -- who was Pete or Nick Lucas?

Francis Hoague:

Pete -- Pete was an official of the company, Pete Onam who was the Secretary Treasurer of the company.

Potter Stewart:

Of the company.

He wasn't a --

Francis Hoague:

Not of minor functionary, he was an official of the company.

And I think it was written on -- on just a pad of paper from Nick -- it said from the desk, “memo from Nick Lucas.”

Nick Lucas was the Vice President of the company.

Potter Stewart:

So Pete and Nick Lucas were the same man.

Francis Hoague:

No Your Honor.

I think they were different men.

They were both officials of the company, both officers of the company.

Potter Stewart:

I see.

Francis Hoague:

So, he came back -- let's see, he came back with a doctor's letter saying that he was ready to work to the company, and they said, “Take some more time off.

We're not ready for you.

We'll call you when we are ready.”

Since he had seniority over other men in the plant, he went to the union.

The union called the head -- had a couple of telephone calls that were unsuccessful in straightening out his difficulty.

And on May 27, they sent down -- in the morning, sent down a business agent with Welch to see if they could square things away.