LOCAL 514 v. Keating, No. 99,178.

CourtSupreme Court of Oklahoma
Writing for the CourtWATT, C.J.
Citation2003 Okla. 110,83 P.3d 835,2003 OK 110
Docket NumberNo. 99,178.
Decision Date16 December 2003
PartiesLOCAL 514 TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, Local 627 International Union of Operating Engineers, Local Lodge 898 International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Local 584 International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local 916 American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1358 National Association of Letter Carriers, Local 1558 International Union, United Auto, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Oklahoma State AFL-CIO and Edwards Pipeline Services, Inc., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Frank KEATING, Governor of the State of Oklahoma, Oklahomans for Jobs for Justice, Inc., Kent Duvall, Michelle McKenzie, and Stephen Weese, Defendants-Appellees, Eastern Oklahoma Building & Construction Trades Council, Amicus Curiae.

83 P.3d 835
2003 OK 110
2003 Okla. 110

LOCAL 514 TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, Local 627 International Union of Operating Engineers, Local Lodge 898 International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Local 584 International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local 916 American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1358 National Association of Letter Carriers, Local 1558 International Union, United Auto, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Oklahoma State AFL-CIO and Edwards Pipeline Services, Inc., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Frank KEATING, Governor of the State of Oklahoma, Oklahomans for Jobs for Justice, Inc., Kent Duvall, Michelle McKenzie, and Stephen Weese, Defendants-Appellees,
Eastern Oklahoma Building & Construction Trades Council, Amicus Curiae

No. 99,178.

Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

December 16, 2003.


83 P.3d 836
Steven R. Hickman, James E. Frasier, Tulsa, OK, and Laurence E. Gold, Washington, DC, for Plaintiffs-Appellants

D. Kent Meyers, Mary H. Tolbert, Crowe & Dunlevy, and John N. Hermes, McAfee & Taft, Oklahoma City, for Defendants-Appellees, Frank Keating, Governor of the State of Oklahoma and Oklahomans for Jobs for Justice, Inc.

Kermit M. Milburn, Henson, Henson, Henson, Marshall & Milburn, Shawnee, OK, and John R. Martin, Springfield, VA, for Defendants-Appellees, Kent Duvall, Michelle McKenzie, and Stephen Weese.

James C. Thomas, Tulsa, OK, for Amicus Curiae, Eastern Oklahoma Building & Construction Trades Council.

WATT, C.J.

¶ 1 The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has certified questions of state law to this Court under the Oklahoma Uniform Certification of Questions of State Law Act, 20 O.S.2001 §§ 1601, et seq. The federal court asks:

1. Is severability analysis required in light of the preemption of [Okla. Const.] article XXIII, § 1A(B)(1), § 1A(C), and § 1A(E) (insofar as it enforces § 1A(B)(1), § 1A(B)(5), and § 1A(C)) as to workers covered by the NLRA, as opposed to the `invalidation' of those provisions?
2. If severability analysis is appropriate, are § 1A(B)(1), § 1A(B)(5), § 1A(C), and § 1A(E) (insofar as it enforces § 1A(B)(1), § 1A(B)(5), and § 1A(C)) severable from the non-preempted portions of § 1A?

We answer "no" to Question 1. Thus, it is unnecessary to answer Question 2.

INTRODUCTION

¶ 2 In September 2001 the people of Oklahoma approved at a special election State Question 695, a referendum submitted to them by a Joint Resolution of the Oklahoma Legislature. Upon its approval by the people, SQ 695 immediately amended the Oklahoma Constitution by adding Art. 23, § 1A.1

83 P.3d 837
This new provision is usually either called the "right to work law" or the "right to work amendment."

¶ 3 In November 2001, several labor organizations and a pipeline company sued then Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma seeking a declaration that the right to work law was unconstitutional. Later, Oklahomans for Jobs and Justice, a supporter of right to work, and three individual Oklahoma citizens, who are represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation, intervened as defendants.

¶ 4 In the trial court the parties agreed that no discovery would be necessary to resolve the issues and that submission of those issues via cross-motions for summary judgment would be appropriate. The trial court entered an order and final judgment on June 5, 2002, Local 514, Transport Workers of America, et al. v. Keating, et al., 212 F.Supp.2d 1319 (E.D.Okla.2002). In its order, the trial court rejected the plaintiffs' contention that the right to work law should be declared invalid because it was substantially preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, Art. 6, Cl. 2, and also rejected the plaintiffs' contention that the amendment violated several provisions of the Oklahoma Constitution. Instead, the trial court held, "Plaintiffs' federal constitutional attack against Oklahoma's right-to-work law has no merit and must be rejected." The trial court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law issues raised by plaintiffs.

¶ 5 The trial court held that the right to work amendment did not apply to employees covered by the Railway Labor Act,2 the Civil Service Reform Act,3 or the Postal Reorganization Act;4 nor did it have any application to federal enclaves, such as military bases. Thus, held the trial court, no preemption issues existed as to employees covered by these federal acts because the Oklahoma right to work amendment itself contemplated that those employees were excluded from the amendment's ambit.

¶ 6 The trial court held that § 1A(B)(5) of the right to work amendment, relating to exclusive hiring halls,5 conflicted with and was preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act and the National Labor Relations Act, § 14(b), as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 164(b). The trial court also held that § 1A(C) of the right to work amendment, relating to payroll checkoff arrangements, conflicted with and was preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 186(c)(4), which regulates such checkoff arrangements.

¶ 7 After concluding that § 1A(B)(5) and § 1A(C) of the right to work amendment conflict with and are preempted by federal law, the trial court went on to analyze whether, under Oklahoma law, the remaining provisions, primarily § 1A(B)(1)-§ 1A(B)(4), were capable of standing alone and being

83 P.3d 838
executed in accordance with the intent of the people, or were so interdependent with the preempted provisions, it could not be said that the people would have voted to enact the remaining provisions by themselves. The trial court held that the remaining provisions of the right to work amendment, subsections (B)(1)-(B)(4), were "the law's core provisions banning union and agency shops [and] would have been enacted notwithstanding the absence of the invalid provisions." 212 F.Supp.2d at 1329

¶ 8 On appeal the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that § 1A(B)(1)6 of the right to work amendment was also preempted by federal law. As a result of this holding, the Court of Appeals, on its own motion, submitted to us the certified questions set out above and sought our "authoritative guidance."

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

¶ 9 The Oklahoma right to work law is one of many that have been passed throughout the United States through both legislation and constitutional amendment. Such laws were enacted to protect employees against discrimination on account of their membership or nonmembership in labor organizations. The U.S. Supreme Court first held that such laws were constitutional in 1949 in the companion cases of Lincoln Federal Labor Union No. 19129, A.F. of L. v. Northwestern Iron & Metal Co., 335 U.S. 525, 69 S.Ct. 251, 93 L.Ed. 212 (1949) and A.F. of L. v. American Sash & Door Co., 335 U.S. 538, 69 S.Ct. 258, 93 L.Ed. 222 (1949). The court held that the Arizona, Nebraska, and North Carolina right to work laws violated neither the due process clause nor the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

¶ 10 In 1947, the congress passed § 14(b) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 164(b), which specifically authorized states to prohibit agreements between unions and employers requiring membership in a union as a condition of employment. Similarly, § 8 of the same Act, 29 U.S.C. § 158, provided, in effect, that a worker can't be fired for nonmembership in a union if the worker's nonmembership results from the worker's refusal to pay union dues.

¶ 11 The various forms of collective bargaining agreements between unions and employers that require employees to pay union dues in one form or another are generally characterized as "security agreements." Lincoln Federal, 335 U.S. at 528, 69 S.Ct. at 253. The conflict over right to work laws has arisen because of the opposing attitudes toward security agreements. Right to work advocates believe that every worker should have the right to decline to pay dues to an organization whose views the worker may oppose, but unions believe that no worker should be entitled to benefit from the advantages secured by unions without having contributed to the unions' support. The cases dealing with this issue are collected and discussed in a recent A.L.R. annotation, Validity, Construction, and Application of State Right-to-Work Provisions, 105 A.L.R.5th 243 (2003).

DISCUSSION

I.

Severability Analysis is not Required because the right to work law contemplates that some of its provisions might not operate in some limited circumstances as a result of the interpretation of federal law by federal courts.

¶ 12 As noted earlier, the trial court held that Oklahoma's right to work amendment did not apply to employees covered by the Railway Labor Act, the Civil Service Reform Act, or the Postal Reorganization Act, and had no application to federal enclaves, such as military bases. Thus, the trial court concluded that no preemption issue existed as to employees covered by these federal acts because the Oklahoma right to

83 P.3d 839
work amendment itself contemplated that those employees were excluded from the amendment's ambit. For reasons discussed below, we agree with the trial court's conclusion that the right to work amendment itself contemplated that, because of the operation of federal law, certain employees in certain circumstances might not be covered by the right to work amendment's terms

¶ 13 First, we note that whether to apply severability analysis here is a matter of state law. With respect to whether severability analysis is required here, we think it only logical to extend the trial court's analysis concerning the Railway Labor Act, the Civil Service Reform Act, the Postal Reorganization Act, and federal enclaves to those sections of the right...

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12 practice notes
  • Mary Bishop & Sharon Baldwin v. Smith, Nos. 14–5003
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 18 d5 Julho d5 2014
    ...state constitutional provisions if they were declared preempted by federal law); Local 514 Transp. Workers Union of Am. v. Keating, 83 P.3d 835, 839 (Okla.2003) (answering that severability analysis would not apply and holding that “whether to apply severability analysis ... [was] a matter ......
  • City of Enid v. Perb, No. 101,729.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 14 d2 Março d2 2006
    ...a state interest in how such organizations function in this state. See, e.g., Local 514 Transport Workers Union of America v. Keating, 2003 OK 110, ¶ 15, 83 P.3d 835 (discussing Okla. Const. Art. 23 § ¶ 35 Of course, just as the City of Enid may not set up its employer-employee relationship......
  • Barzellone v. Presley, No. 102427.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 29 d2 Novembro d2 2005
    ...Hospitals Auth., 1997 OK 162, ¶ 11, 953 P.2d 314, rehearing denied (1998). 78. Local 514 Transport Workers' Union of America v. Keating, 2003 OK 110, ¶ 15, 83 P.3d 835; Unit Petroleum Co. v. Oklahoma Water Resources Bd., 1995 OK 73, ¶ 6, 898 P.2d 79. Jaworsky v. Frolich, 1992 OK 157, ¶ 16, ......
  • Zeier v. Zimmer, Inc., No. 102,472.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 19 d2 Dezembro d2 2006
    ...see note 25, infra; Jaworsky v. Frolich, 1992 OK 157, ¶ 16, 850 P.2d 1052. 21. Local 514 Transport Workers' Union of America v. Keating, 2003 OK 110, ¶ 15, 83 P.3d 835; Unit Petroleum Co. v. Oklahoma Water Resources Bd., 1995 OK 73, ¶ 6, 898 P.2d 22. Stephens Produce Co. v. Stephens, 1958 O......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Mary Bishop & Sharon Baldwin v. Smith, Nos. 14–5003
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 18 d5 Julho d5 2014
    ...state constitutional provisions if they were declared preempted by federal law); Local 514 Transp. Workers Union of Am. v. Keating, 83 P.3d 835, 839 (Okla.2003) (answering that severability analysis would not apply and holding that “whether to apply severability analysis ... [was] a matter ......
  • City of Enid v. Perb, No. 101,729.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 14 d2 Março d2 2006
    ...a state interest in how such organizations function in this state. See, e.g., Local 514 Transport Workers Union of America v. Keating, 2003 OK 110, ¶ 15, 83 P.3d 835 (discussing Okla. Const. Art. 23 § ¶ 35 Of course, just as the City of Enid may not set up its employer-employee relationship......
  • Barzellone v. Presley, No. 102427.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 29 d2 Novembro d2 2005
    ...Hospitals Auth., 1997 OK 162, ¶ 11, 953 P.2d 314, rehearing denied (1998). 78. Local 514 Transport Workers' Union of America v. Keating, 2003 OK 110, ¶ 15, 83 P.3d 835; Unit Petroleum Co. v. Oklahoma Water Resources Bd., 1995 OK 73, ¶ 6, 898 P.2d 79. Jaworsky v. Frolich, 1992 OK 157, ¶ 16, ......
  • Zeier v. Zimmer, Inc., No. 102,472.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • 19 d2 Dezembro d2 2006
    ...see note 25, infra; Jaworsky v. Frolich, 1992 OK 157, ¶ 16, 850 P.2d 1052. 21. Local 514 Transport Workers' Union of America v. Keating, 2003 OK 110, ¶ 15, 83 P.3d 835; Unit Petroleum Co. v. Oklahoma Water Resources Bd., 1995 OK 73, ¶ 6, 898 P.2d 22. Stephens Produce Co. v. Stephens, 1958 O......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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