Local No. 438, Construction & General Laborers' Union, AFL-CIO v. Curry

PETITIONER: Local No. 438, Construction & General Laborers' Union, AFL-CIO
RESPONDENT: Curry
LOCATION: South Carolina State House

DOCKET NO.: 87
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 371 US 542 (1963)
ARGUED: Nov 07, 1962 / Nov 08, 1962
DECIDED: Jan 21, 1963

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Local No. 438, Construction & General Laborers' Union, AFL-CIO v. Curry

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 08, 1962 in Local No. 438, Construction & General Laborers' Union, AFL-CIO v. Curry

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 07, 1962 in Local No. 438, Construction & General Laborers' Union, AFL-CIO v. Curry

Earl Warren:

Number 87, Local Number 438, Construction and General Laborers’ Union, AFL-CIO, Petitioner versus S. J. Curry et al.

Now, Mr. Pearce you may --

John S. Patton:

If Your Honor please --

Earl Warren:

-- speak.

John S. Patton:

-- I am John Patton, Mr. Pearce’s associate.

We were going to divide the argument.

Earl Warren:

Oh yes.

John S. Patton:

If --

Earl Warren:

Very well.

Its alright, you go right ahead.

John S. Patton:

If Your Honor please, while we normally feel that a divided argument is not the best procedure, we felt that in this particular case, the issues divide themselves into two rather distinct issues which made it capable of divided argument.

Those issues being whether the decision from which the certiorari was prayed was a final order which permitted this Court to properly grant certiorari and also the merits the case.

It was our feeling that if it -- for satisfaction to the Court that perhaps it would be better to first discuss the evidence and the merits of the case for the reason that then it would be easier having already presented that to the Court for the Court to then have presented to it this question of finality.

Earl Warren:

You may proceed in that.

John S. Patton:

Very well, Your Honor.

If Your Honor please, this case is before the Court on certiorari to the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Supreme Court of Georgia having granted an interlocutory injunction overruling the decision of the trial court which had denied the injunction.

The facts of the case are these.

The City of Atlanta, Georgia determined to build a sewage disposal plant known as the South River Sewage Disposal Plant and invited competitive bids to -- of general contractors to bid on those premises.

Among those bidding was the defendant in certiorari S. J. Curry and Company what I’ll refer to as Curry.

The bid of Curry was a successful bid being the lowest bid and therefore a contract was entered into between the City of Atlanta and Curry, for Curry to construct this sewage disposal plant.

Now in that contract, there were the following words, “Wages are to conform with those being paid on similar types of work in the Atlanta area.”

The evidence was undisputed that this provision of the contract was being violated and that the wages that were being paid in this construction was substantially less than that of similar types of work in the Atlanta area.

The record shows that a conference was held in the month of February between certain labor leaders and S. J. Curry and Company and I will go into the details of that competence -- conference a little further in my discussion, but a conference was held and then for the following six months, efforts were made by the plaintiff in certiorari to prevail upon the city to enforce its contract with reference to wages and to require that wages be paid in accordance with the general standard in the Atlanta area.

Now failing in that effort both in conversations with the city attorneys and various officials and also in presenting the matter to the city board of aldermen, finally as a last resort, picketing was resorted to, the picket sign reading. S. J. Curry and Company, violating contract with the City of Atlanta by not paying wages conforming with those of a similar type of work in the Atlanta area, Construction and General Laborers’ Union Number 438, AFL-CIO.

Curry filed a petition in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia to bring that injunction issue restraining such picket.

This came on in due course to be heard on application for interlocutory decree at which time, Judge Farr, the Superior Court judge, denied the draft for injunction, whereupon Curry appealed the case to the Supreme Court of the State of Georgia which court overruled Judge Farr and held that injunction should issue.

The case then was carried to this Court by means of certiorari which was granted.

This Court in granting certiorari restricted the issues in this case to the question of whether certiorari should be granted in view of the case of Montgomery versus Ledbetter which dealt with the question of whether or not it was a final order in this stage.

And also, the question of whether or not the issues of this case were either protected or were -- would come under the area which would come under violations of the National Labor Relations Act, in other words, whether the issues were preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.

Now, it is the position of the defendant in certiorari in his brief insofar as the merits of the cause are concerned that it is true that if the issues of this case are either protected or are violated under the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act that it is a preempted field.