RESPONDENT:New York Department of Labor
LOCATION:Seneca County Court
DOCKET NO.: 77-961
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
CITATION: 440 US 519 (1979)
ARGUED: Oct 30, 1978
DECIDED: Mar 21, 1979
David D. Benetar –
David L. Benetar – for petitioners
Maria L. Marcus – for respondents
Facts of the case
Media for New York Telephone Company v. New York Department of Labor
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – March 21, 1979 in New York Telephone Company v. New York Department of Labor
Warren E. Burger:
Mr. Justice Stevens has the two judgment — two opinions — judgment and opinion of the court to announce, one, 961, New York Telephone Company against New York State Department of Labor and the other, 1427, New York City Transit Authority against Beazer.
John Paul Stevens:
In the New York Telephone Company case, the question is whether federal law prohibits the state of New York from paying unemployment compensation to strikers.
The case arises out of the prolonged strike against the New York Telephone Company by members of the Communication Workers of America. During a period of approximately five months, the state paid weekly benefits averaging roughly $75 a week per employee to about 33,000 striking employees.
Because the state’s unemployment compensation program is largely financed by taxes assessed against employers, most of the $49 million in benefits was ultimately paid by the company.
Petitioner, the New York Telephone Company, brought this action against the New York State Department of Labor and its responsible officials seeking an injunction against enforcement of the New York statute and award recovering the increased taxes paid as a result of the disbursement of benefits to striking employees.
After an eight-day trial, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found that the payment of benefits had a measurable impact favorable to the union on the progress of the strike, concluded that the New York program violated the federal labor policy of neutrality in collective bargaining and granted relief to the company. United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed.
That court held that Congress had not expressly forbidden state unemployment compensation for strikers and after reviewing the legislative history of the National Labor Relations Act and Title IX of the Social Security Act concluded that Congress did not implicitly prohibit the states from paying this kind of compensation to striking employees.
Because of the importance of the issue, this Court granted certiorari and now affirms the judgment of the Court of Appeals. The reasons for the Court’s conclusions are set forth in three separate opinions.
I would only say about those reasons that they make it clear that the question is not a constitutional question but rather is a question of what Congress has intended in the various — in the relevant statutes that it has enacted.
I have filed an opinion joined by Mr. Justice White and Mr. Justice Rehnquist.
Mr. Justice Brennan has filed a separate concurring opinion.
And Mr. Justice Blackmun joined by Mr. Justice Marshall has also filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.
Mr. Justice Powell has filed a dissenting opinion in which Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Stewart have joined.