Retail Clerks International Association, Local 1625, AFL-CIO v. Schermerhorn

PETITIONER: Retail Clerks International Association, Local 1625, AFL-CIO
RESPONDENT: Schermerhorn
LOCATION: Clauson's Inn

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 373 US 746 (1963)
ARGUED: Apr 18, 1963
DECIDED: Jun 03, 1963

Facts of the case


Media for Retail Clerks International Association, Local 1625, AFL-CIO v. Schermerhorn

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1963 in Retail Clerks International Association, Local 1625, AFL-CIO v. Schermerhorn

Earl Warren:

No. 368 Retail Clerks International Association Local 1625, AFL-CIO, et al., petitioners versus Alberta Schermerhorn et al.

Mr. Lippman.

S. G. Lippman:

Thank you sir.

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

We have a related problem to the one that was just argued before this Court.

In our situation, the local union and Food Fair negotiated a collective bargaining contract which contained a panoply of many benefits to the employees and Florida being one of the Like to Work states which prohibits the entry into a contract requiring membership in a union pursuant to 14(b).

Potter Stewart:

How many such states are there, about a dozen?

S. G. Lippman:

There are 20 at the moment sir.

Potter Stewart:


S. G. Lippman:

We negotiated what I think could be correctly characterized as a service fee arrangement.

In that service fee, and it is set forth on page 9 of the record, although it's called agency shop, I think the Court will recognize that it has substantial differences from the agency shop in the GM case just argued.

In that service fee arrangement, we provide that under the law of the State of Florida the employees have a right to join and not to join the union.

However, the union is the exclusive bargaining agent.

It's been certified, chosen by the employees, and the union has the obligation under the law to represent all the employees equally and impartially.

The union incurs many expenses in connection with this representation and therefore we say in so many words to defray the cost of the union as a collective the bargaining agency, the employees who determine that they do not wish to join the union would be required to pay a service fee.

In a subsequent notice which we posted, after reiterating the language, we said that the service fee would be the equivalent of the monthly dues and the initiation fee.

I might point out that the issue before this Court and the issue before the Florida Supreme Court was not the amount of the service fee or the reasonableness of the service fee, but was whether or not one penny could be charged as a service fee arrangement.

The rationale if it may please the Court is this.

A union has the obligation under the law, and the Court has spelled out that obligation, to represent all employees, union and nonunion alike, and to represent them impartially.

All employees receive these benefits and the record of contract is in the record indicates the substantial benefits involved.

Being a collective bargaining agency requires a great deal of expenditures.

I think that is clear and it's spelled out in the brief, one has to hire attorneys and negotiators and fulltime representatives.

Committees have to be paid, records have to be kept, contracts have to be administered, cases have to be taken to arbitration.

And so we say that if you want the benefits and you have chosen us to obtain benefits for you, we believe that you should pay a prorated cost of carrying on as the collective bargaining agent not as a member of the union, but as a member or an employee within the bargaining unit.

Now, how do we differ from the agency shop?

The sums which are paid can only be used to defray the cost of collective bargaining.

None of the money could in any way be used for institutional or labor union objectives unrelated to the collective bargaining function of the particular union involved.

Byron R. White:

Which I suppose leads to objective employee pay a greater proportion of the collective bargaining costs?

S. G. Lippman:

No sir.

Byron R. White:

Why is that?