Curators of University of Missouri v. Public Service Emp. Local No. 45, Columbia, 58646

Decision Date10 March 1975
Docket NumberNo. 58646,58646
Parties88 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 3039, 76 Lab.Cas. P 53,634 The CURATORS OF the UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, a Public Corporation of the State of Missouri, and the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYEES LOCAL NO. 45, COLUMBIA, Missouri, et al., Defendants-Respondents.
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Jackson A. Wright, Marvin E. Wright, James S. Newberry, Richard S. Paden, Columbia, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Scott O. Wright, Brown, Wright, Willbrand & Simon, Columbia, for defendants-respondents.

DONNELLY, Chief Justice.

This case involves a controversy between the Curators of the University of Missouri and certain nonacademic employees of the University.

On October 27, 1972, plaintiffs became aware that approximately 500 employees of the University were not reporting for work. Two pickets appeared at the south entrance of Jesse Hall at approximately 7:45 A.M. that date. Pickets also appeared at the University power plant the same day. Picketing became more intense on November 6, 1972, when mass picketing occurred at the entrance to Central Food Service and vehicular traffic was physically blocked from entering certain areas of the University. The only deliveries actually made were by means of police escort. The mass picketing continued on November 7, 1972, and no deliveries were made on campus that day. The general effect of the strike was disruption of normal University activity. Employment returned to normal on November 16, 1972.

On November 6, 1972, plaintiffs filed their petition in the Circuit Court of Boone County, Missouri, and requested a restraining order and temporary injunction and, after hearing, a permanent injunction. A restraining order was issued on November 6, 1972. A temporary injunction was issued on November 15, 1972. Defendants filed their answer and counterclaim on November 20, 1972. Hearings were held, and evidence adduced, on December 5, 1972, January 29, 1973, and January 30, 1973.

The trial court, after hearing, sustained plaintiffs' request for a permanent injunction against striking, and declared, in behalf of defendants, 'that the provisions of Section 105.500--105.525 V.A.M.S. are applicable to the Board of Curators.' Plaintiffs appealed.

Plaintiffs assert on appeal that 'the trial court erred in finding that those provisions of Sections 105.500--105.525 RSMo 1969 which purport to extend to public employees of the University of Missouri rights greater than those recognized by the Constitution of Missouri, 1945 and the common law are not an unconstitutional infringement upon the 'government' of the University of Missouri by the Board of Curators pursuant to Article IX, Section 9(a), Constitution of Missouri, s945.'

Article IX, Section 9(a), of the Constitution of Missouri, V.A.M.S., reads as follows:

'The government of the state university shall be vested in a board of curators consisting of nine members appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the senate.'

Sections 105.500--105.530, RSMo 1969, V.A.M.S., have been accurately referred to as the 'Missouri Public Sector Labor Law.' (Loevi, The Development and Current Application of Missouri Public Sector Labor Law, 36 Mo.L.R. 167). Sections 105.510, 105.520, and 105.525 are pertinent here.

Section 105.510, RSMo 1969, V.A.M.S., reads as follows:

'Employees, except police, deputy sheriffs, Missouri state highway patrolmen, Missouri national guard, all teachers of all Missouri schools, colleges and universities, of any public body shall have the right to form and join labor organizations and to present proposals to any public body relative to salaries and other conditions of employment through the representative of their own choosing. No such employee shall be discharged or discriminated against because of his exercise of such right, nor shall any person or group of persons, directly or indirectly, by intimidation or coercion, compel or attempt to compel any such employee to join or refrain from joining a labor organization, except that the above excepted employees have the right to form benevolent, social, or fraternal associations. Membership in such associations may not be restricted on the basis of race, creed, color, religion or ancestry.'

Section 105.520, RSMo 1969, V.A.M.S., reads as follows:

'Whenever such proposals are presented by the exclusive bargaining representative to a public body, the public body or its designated representative or representatives shall meet, confer and discuss such proposals relative to salaries and other conditions of employment of the employees of the public body with the labor organization which is the exclusive bargaining representative of its employees in a unit appropriate. Upon the completion of discussions, the results shall be reduced to writing and be presented to the appropriate administrative, legislative or other governing body in the form of an ordinance, resolution, bill or other form required for adoption, modification or rejection.'

Section 105.525, RSMo 1969, V.A.M.S., reads as follows:

'Issues with respect to appropriateness of bargaining units and majority representative status shall be resolved by the state board of mediation. In the event that the appropriate administrative body or any of the bargaining units shall be aggrieved by the decision of the state board of mediation, an appeal may be had to the circuit court of the county where the administrative body is located or in the circuit court of Cole county. The state board of mediation shall use the services of the state hearing officer in all contested cases.'

The essential question, when applied to the situation presented here, is whether the Public Sector Labor Law represents, directly or indirectly, an impermissible investing of power to govern the State University in persons or agencies other than the board of curators of the State University. In our opinion, when interpreted and applied against the background of Missouri constitutional provisions, it does not. Cf. City of Springfield v. Clouse, 356 Mo. 1239, 206 S.W.2d 539 (1947); State ex rel. Missey v. City of Cabool, 441, S.W.2d 35 (Mo.1969); City of Kirkwood v. Missouri State Board of Mediation, 478 S.W.2d 690 (Mo.App.1972); and State ex rel. O'Leary v. Missouri State Board of Mediation, 509 S.W.2d 84 (Mo. banc 1974).

Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution of Missouri, provides:

'That the people have the right peaceably to assemble for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances by petition or remonstrance.'

In City of Springfield v. Clouse, supra, 206 S.W.2d l.c. 542, in an opinion written in 1947, prior to the first enactment of the Public Sector Labor Law in 1965, this Court en Banc, against the background of the United States and Missouri Constitutions, addressed the need for bringing the problems of public employees to the attention of public officers and legislative bodies, and said:

'All citizens have the right, preserved by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Sections 8 and 9 of Article I of the 1945 Missouri Constitution, Sections 14 and 29, Art. 2, Constitution of 1875, to peaceably assemble and organize for any proper purpose, to speak freely and to present their views and desires to any public officer or legislative body. * * * Organization by citizens is a method of the democratic way of life and most helpful to the proper functioning of our representative form of government. It should be safeguarded and encouraged as a means for citizens to discuss their problems together and to bring them to the attention of public officers and legislative bodies. Organizations are likewise helpful to bring public officers and employees together to survey their work and suggest improvements in the public service as well as in their own working conditions. * * * Nevertheless, the organization and activity in organizations of public officers and employees is...

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