Higgins v. Cardinal Mfg. Co., No. 498

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Kansas
Writing for the CourtSCHROEDER
Citation360 P.2d 456,188 Kan. 11
Decision Date17 March 1961
Docket NumberA,No. 42055,No. 498
PartiesFloyd M. HIGGINS, Oscar Waddell and Beulah Lamuel, Appellants, v. CARDINAL MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Inc., a Corporation; General Drivers Allied Automotive and Petroleum Local Unionffiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America; C. B. Butler, individually, and as President of said Localppellees, and The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America (Defendant).

Page 456

360 P.2d 456
188 Kan. 11
Floyd M. HIGGINS, Oscar Waddell and Beulah Lamuel, Appellants,
v.
CARDINAL MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Inc., a Corporation; General
Drivers Allied Automotive and Petroleum Local Union No. 498,
Affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters,
Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America; C. B.
Butler, individually, and as President of said Local No.
498, Appellees,
and
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs,
Warehousemen and Helpers of America (Defendant).
No. 42055.
Supreme Court of Kansas.
March 17, 1961.
Rehearing Denied April 12, 1961.

Page 457

Syllabus by the Court

1. In an action by nonunion employees, covered by a collective bargaining agreement which contains an agency shop provision, seeking a declaratory judgment and to enjoin application of the agreement to prevent their discharge for failure to pay the equivalent of union dues, fees and assessments to a labor organization, the trial court sustained a motion to dismiss the action, and on appeal it is held: The district court failed to properly construe Article 15, Section 12, of the Kansas constitution, commonly known as the 'right to work amendment,' adopted pursuant to section 14(b) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, (29 U.S.C.A. § 164[b]), commonly known as the Taft-Hartley Act, and its order sustaining the motion to dismiss is reversed.

2. A constitution must be interpreted liberally to carry into effect the principles of government which it embodies. It deals broadly with general subjects, and its language should not be interpreted in any narrow, refined or subtle sense, but should be held to mean what the words imply to the common understanding of men. In ascertaining the meaning of a constitutional provision courts consider the circumstances attending its adoption and what appears to have been the understanding of the people when they adopted it.

3. The construction of a state constitutional provision is left to state courts in the first instance, where it is adopted pursuant to specific authorization granted by Congress.

4. The Kansas constitutional amendment (Art. 15, § 12), commonly known as the 'right to work amendment', prohibiting compulsory membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment or continued employment, is construed to include, by necessary implication, a prohibition against forced payment of initiation fees, union dues and assessments, or the equivalent, by a worker to a labor organization as a condition of employment or continued employment.

[188 Kan. 12] 5. A so-called 'agency shop' provision in a collective bargaining agreement violates Article 15, Section 12, of the Kansas constitution, commonly known as the 'right to work amendment.'

6. The provisions of the Kansas constitution (Art. 15, § 12), commonly known as the 'right to work amendment,' as construed in Syllabus p4, are consistent with section 14(b) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, (29 U.S.C.A. § 164[b]), pursuant to which such amendment was adopted.

7. Under the provisions of section 14(b) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, (29 U.S.C.A. § 164[b]), Congress yielded to the states permission to enact 'right to work' laws, and granted authority to the state courts to process violations of such laws.

Page 458

J. D. Lysaught, Kansas City, and Leonard F. Banowetz, Wichita, argued the cause, and J. E. Schroeder, Lee E. Weeks and Leonard O. Thomas, Kansas City, and Jay W. Scovel and Robert K. Scovel, Independence, were with them on the briefs for appellants.

Robert Fousek, Kansas City, Mo., and James H. Barnes, Kansas City, argued the cause and were on the briefs for appellees, Local Union No. 498 and C. B. Butler.

George E. McCullough, W. L. Parker, Jr., Robert B. Wareheim, Philip J. Saia, Topeka, and Buford L. Shankel, Kansas City, for the Kansas State Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, as amicus curiae.

Joseph Bukaty and James H. Barnes, Kansas City, for the Central Labor Council of Kansas City, Kansas, as amicus curiae.

T. M. Lillard and O. B. Eidson, Topeka, for the Kansas State Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Cooperative Dairy Products Association and Kansas for the Right to Work, as amici curiae.

SCHROEDER, Justice.

The question presented by this appeal is whether an 'agency shop' provision in a labor contract is prohibited by the so-called 'right to work' law of Kansas. The appellants are nonunion employees covered by the applicable collective bargaining agreement and brought this action to enjoin application of the contract, and to secure a declaratory judgment of the court to determine the validity of the 'agency shop' provision in the contract. The appellees by cross appeal challenge the jurisdiction of the court under the National Labor Relations Act.

[188 Kan. 13] Appeal has been duly perfected from an order sustaining a motion to dismiss a petition filed in the district court of Wyandotte County, Kansas. The motion was treated by both parties and the trial court as equivalent to a demurrer, since it challenged only the sufficiency of the petition to state a cause of action and the jurisdiction of the court as to the subject matter. Under these circumstances the wellpleaded facts in the petition are admitted, and the petition, not having been attacked by motion, is entitled to a liberal construction in favor of the pleader. The following facts are indicated by the petition.

The plaintiffs, Floyd M. Higgins, Oscar Waddell and Beulah Lamuel (appellants), are each residents of Wyandotte County, Kansas, and seniority employees in the production department of the defendant, Cardinal Manufacturing Company, Inc. (appellee), located in Kansas City, Kansas, where it is engaged in the business of the manufacture of television picture tubes and by-products.

The defendant, General Drivers Allied Automotive and Petroleum Local Union No. 498 (appellee), is a labor union and the duly certified bargaining agent for the employees of the defendant, Cardinal Manufacturing Company, Inc. The defendant, C. B. Butler (appellee), is president of the local union, which is an affiliate of the defendant, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America.

The appellants brought the action as individuals and as representatives of such employees of Cardinal 'who are not now members of said Local Union No. 498, or who may hereafter resign membership therein.'

On or about the 15th day of November, 1958, the employer, recognizing the union as the exclusive bargaining agency for all employees within the 'bargaining unit' as certified by the National Labor Relations Board, entered into an alleged security agreement which provides in part as follows:

'Article III.

'No Discrimination--Equal Benefits--Equal Obligations.

'Section 1. Agency Shop (a) Membership in the Union is not compulsory. Employees have the right to join, not join, maintain or drop their membership in the Union, as they see fit. Neither party shall exert any pressure

Page 459

on or discriminate against an employee as regards such matters.

'(b) Membership in the Union is separate, apart and distinct from the assumption by one of his equal obligation to the extent that he receives equal benefits. The Union is required, under this Agreement, to represent all of [188 Kan. 14] the employees in the bargaining unit fairly and equally without regard as to whether or not an employee is a member of the Union. The terms of this Agreement have been made for all employees in the bargaining unit and not only for members in the Union and this Agreement has been executed by the Employer after it has satisfied itself as the result of a secret ballot that the Union is the choice of a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit and the Union has been certified by the National Labor Relations Board.

'(c) In accordance with the policy set forth under subparagraphs (a) and (b) of this Article, all employees shall, as a condition of continued employment, pay to the Union, the employees' exclusive collective bargaining representative, an amount of money equal to that paid by other employees in the bargaining unit who are members of the Union, which shall be limited to an amount of money equal in the Union's regular and usual initiation fees, and its regular and usual dues and its general and uniform assessments. For existing employees, such payments shall commence thirty (30) days following the date of execution of this Agreement and for new employees, the payments shall start sixty (60) days following the date of employment.

'(d) The Union agrees to indemnify the Company and hold the Company harmless from any final determination of liability to any employee by reason of the discharge of such employee if such discharge was caused or effected by a request of the Union, as provided for in the preceding paragraphs of this contract.

'The Company agrees to notify the Union of the pendency of any law suit which results from the discharge of an employee at the request of the Union within ten (10) days of the date of service of summons on the Company, and the Union obligates itself to defend the law suit.

'Section 2. The Employer agrees to deduct from the pay of all employees covered by this Agreement who so authorize in writing, dues, initiation fees and/or uniform assessments of the Local Union having jurisdiction over such employees and agrees to remit to said Local Union all such deductions. Where laws require written authorization by the employee, the same is to be furnished in the form required. No deduction shall be made which is prohibited by applicable law.

'Article XVII.

'Extra Contract Agreements.

'The Employer agrees not to enter into any agreement or contract with his employees, individually or collectively, which in any way conflicts with the terms and provisions of this Agreement.

* * *

* * *

'This Agreement...

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34 practice notes
  • Leek v. Theis, No. 47885
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • July 17, 1975
    ...Constitutional Law, § 175, pp. 399-401.) The policy behind these rules if found in Syllabus 2 of Higgins v. Cardinal Manufacturing Co., 188 Kan. 11, 360 P.2d 456, cert. denied, 368 U.S. 829, 82 S.Ct. 51, 7 L.Ed.2d 32 (1961) as 'A constitution must be interpreted liberally to carry into effe......
  • State ex rel. Stephan v. Finney, No. 69616
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • January 27, 1994
    ...to mean one thing at one time and another thing at another time.' Id. at 445 [502 P.2d 841]. "In Higgins v. Cardinal Manufacturing Co., 188 Kan. 11 [360 P.2d 456] (1961), the Court stated that a constitution is not to be narrowly or technically construed but its language 'should be held to ......
  • Williams v. City of Wichita, No. 42312
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • September 17, 1962
    ...is left to the states in the first instance, if the state has authority to enact such law. (Higgins v. Cardinal Manufacturing Co., 188 Kan. 11, 21, 360 P.2d 456, cert. den. General Drivers Allied Automotive & Petroleum Local Union No. 498 v. Higgins, 368 U.S. 829, 82 S.Ct. 51, 7 L.Ed.2d 32;......
  • State ex rel. Tomasic v. Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., No. 80223
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • March 6, 1998
    ...205 Kan. 821, 825, 473 P.2d 97 (1970); Wall v. Harrison, 201 Kan. 600, 603, 443 P.2d 266 (1968); Higgins v. Cardinal Manufacturing Co., 188 Kan. 11, 360 P.2d 456 " 'The propriety, wisdom, necessity and expedience of legislation are exclusively matters for legislative determination and court......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
34 cases
  • Leek v. Theis, No. 47885
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • July 17, 1975
    ...Constitutional Law, § 175, pp. 399-401.) The policy behind these rules if found in Syllabus 2 of Higgins v. Cardinal Manufacturing Co., 188 Kan. 11, 360 P.2d 456, cert. denied, 368 U.S. 829, 82 S.Ct. 51, 7 L.Ed.2d 32 (1961) as 'A constitution must be interpreted liberally to carry into effe......
  • State ex rel. Stephan v. Finney, No. 69616
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • January 27, 1994
    ...to mean one thing at one time and another thing at another time.' Id. at 445 [502 P.2d 841]. "In Higgins v. Cardinal Manufacturing Co., 188 Kan. 11 [360 P.2d 456] (1961), the Court stated that a constitution is not to be narrowly or technically construed but its language 'should be held to ......
  • Williams v. City of Wichita, No. 42312
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • September 17, 1962
    ...is left to the states in the first instance, if the state has authority to enact such law. (Higgins v. Cardinal Manufacturing Co., 188 Kan. 11, 21, 360 P.2d 456, cert. den. General Drivers Allied Automotive & Petroleum Local Union No. 498 v. Higgins, 368 U.S. 829, 82 S.Ct. 51, 7 L.Ed.2d 32;......
  • State ex rel. Tomasic v. Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., No. 80223
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • March 6, 1998
    ...205 Kan. 821, 825, 473 P.2d 97 (1970); Wall v. Harrison, 201 Kan. 600, 603, 443 P.2d 266 (1968); Higgins v. Cardinal Manufacturing Co., 188 Kan. 11, 360 P.2d 456 " 'The propriety, wisdom, necessity and expedience of legislation are exclusively matters for legislative determination and court......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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