Local Union No. 415 of Intern. Broth. of Elec. Workers v. Hansen, No. 3350

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtGRAY
Citation400 P.2d 531
PartiesLOCAL UNION NO. 415 OF the INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, Cheyenne, Wyoming, et al., Plaintiffs, Clifford P. HANSEN, individually and as Governor of the State of Wyoming, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date07 April 1965
Docket NumberNo. 3350

Page 531

400 P.2d 531
LOCAL UNION NO. 415 OF the INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, Cheyenne, Wyoming, et al., Plaintiffs,
Clifford P. HANSEN, individually and as Governor of the State of Wyoming, et al., Defendants.
No. 3350.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
April 7, 1965.

Hickey, Rooney & Walton, Cheyenne, Sherman, Dunn & Sickles, Washington, D. C., for plaintiffs.

John F. Raper, Atty. Gen., Dean W. Borthwick, Deputy Atty. Gen., Cheyenne, John L. Kilcullen, of McNutt, Dudley & Easterwood, Washington, D. C., for defendants.

Before PARKER, C. J., and HARNSBERGER, GRAY and McINTYRE, JJ.

Mr. Justice GRAY delivered the opinion of the court.

This matter is before us on reserved constitutional questions pursuant to the procedure contemplated by §§ 1-191-1-

Page 532

193, W.S.1957, and Rule 52(c), Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure. It involves Ch. 39, S.L. of Wyoming, 1963, commonly known as the right-to-work law.

Plaintiffs 1 commenced an action below seeking a declaration that the law in question is unconstitutional on the sole ground that in certain respects the act is in conflict with and repugnant to the provisions of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, as amended, 29 U.S.C. (1958), § 141 et sequitur. Plaintiffs also seek to enjoin defendants 2 from enforcing the act.

The portions of Ch. 39, supra, with which we are primarily concerned are as follows:

'AN ACT to provide that employment shall not be conditional upon membership or non-membership in, nor upon the payment or non-payment of money to, a labor organization, * * *

* * *

* * *

'Section 2. No person is required to become or remain a member of any labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment.

'Section 3. No person is required to abstain or refrain from membership in any labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment.

'Section 4. No person is required to pay or refrain from paying any dues, fees, or other charges of any kind to any labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment.

'Section 5. No person is required to have any connection with, or be recommended or approved by, or be cleared through, any labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment.'

Other sections provide civil and criminal penalties for violations.

From the pleadings and the admissions made at the pretrial conference certain facts that we regard as important and necessary to disposition of the controversy were agreed upon. For example, it is established that the unions are labor organizations as defined in § 1(a), Ch. 39, S.L. of Wyoming, 1963, and as defined in § 152(5), 29 U.S.C. (1958). Also, that the employers are subject to the provisions of Ch. 39, and are engaged in an industry affecting commerce as defined in § 142(1), 29 U.S.C. (1958). For many years the unions were and are now the collective bargaining representatives of the employees of plaintiff employers and were so recognized by the employers in keeping with the provisions of § 158(a)(5) and § 158(d), 29 U.S.C. (1958). During this time the unions and the employers entered into many collective bargaining agreements establishing wages, hours of employment, and working conditions; and several such agreements were in effect at the time Ch. 39 was enacted. It is also shown that the unions and the employers were desirous of continuing the relationship, but being fearful that in so doing each might be subjected to the rather severe penalties imposed by Ch. 39 the within action was commenced for the purposes above stated.

By the foregoing we do not want to leave the impression that the action was entirely devoid of factual dispute. Among other things, the agreements provided that the unions would act as exclusive referral agencies for employment with the employers, an arrangement now commonly known as an exclusive 'hiring hall.' In the trial court defendants vigorously assailed the provisions relating to such matter, asserting, as they do here, that the provisions were discriminatory upon their face.

Page 533

Furthermore, that the provisions were administered by the unions in such a fashion as to discriminate against nonunion applicants and, upon a ruling of the trial court that these contentions were immaterial, made offers of proof to sustain their position. With respect to this phase of the case much more could be set forth. However, inasmuch as the trial court has ruled that the matter of discrimination is not an issue in the case necessary for decision and we have concluded that the controlling constitutional questions can be answered without regard to the contentions, it would seem that further elaboration of the point would serve no useful purpose.

Following pretrial the court entered an order for the purpose of reserving the questions submitted and, among other things, therein stated that no dispute exists as to any of the material facts in the case. As a conclusion of law the court further stated that if Ch. 39 is constitutional then it is necessary for the court to declare that the contracts mentioned are void. On the other hand, if Ch. 39 is declared to be unconstitutional then plaintiffs are entitled to restrain defendants from commencing or prosecuting any criminal actions against the plaintiffs for continuing to observe the terms of the said agreements. The court also concluded that the constitutional questions presented were important and difficult and on its own motion ordered the questions reserved for decision by this court.

The questions so ordered were as follows:

'a. Is Chapter 39 of the Session Laws of Wyoming of 1963 unconstitutional in that it prevents plaintiff labor organizations, as representatives of the majority of employees of plaintiff employers, from serving as exclusive bargaining agent for all of said employees, and in that it prevents plaintiffs from so contracting?

'b. Is Section 5 of Chapter 39 of the Session Laws of Wyoming of 1963 unconstitutional in that it prevents plaintiffs from using a non-discriminatory, exclusive referral system administered by plaintiff labor organizations whereby plaintiff labor organizations refer employees to plaintiff employers and in that it prevents plaintiffs from so contracting?

'c. If Section 5 of Chapter 39 of the Session Laws of Wyoming of 1963 is unconstitutional, is the entire Act unconstitutional?

Before proceeding further, we must confess that we have been somewhat bothered with the wording of the questions. It is difficult to determine just what the questions encompass and whether the questions are so stated as to be susceptible of categorical answers. In fact, it is rather forcefully argued by defendants that we are not free to answer the questions because unauthorized assumptions and conclusions on the record made form the basis for the questions propounded. We are remainded of cases in which we declined to reach a decision because of apparent deficiencies in the record before us. White v. Board of County Commissioners of Albany County, 77 Wyo. 246, 313 P.2d 484; State ex rel. Keefe v. Jones, 62 Wyo. 61, 161 P.2d 135. Certainly we are cognizant of the pronouncements made in those cases and the reasons underlying the decisions. And we are also inclined to agree with defendants' contentions that the questions are not stated with the clarity and preciseness desired. Nevertheless, we are not inclined to agree that what we have said previously sustains the defendants' premise that the record here is such that we are without jurisdiction. We purposefully set forth above the facts established as the result of the pretrial conference. Those facts were as binding upon the trial court as they are here and, as we view it, sufficiently disposed of the necessary and controlling factual questions. Rule 52(c), W.R.C.P.

When we add to those facts that conclusion of the trial court that those facts made necessary a decision on constitutional questions and a statement by the court of what it perceived those questions to be, there is present all of the essentials necessary to

Page 534

support the order reserving the questions. True, we may not be able to answer the questions as propounded, but that is not fatal. This court is free within the four corners of the record to restate the questions deemed to have been raised in order to achieve a proper and beneficial result. Board of Com'rs of Carbon County v. Rollins, 9 Wyo. 281, 62 P. 351, 352. Under the circumstances, we are persuaded that we should follow that course. The matter is of great public interest throughout the state. Decision thereon unfortunately has been delayed and we think we ought not, if it can be prevented, cause further delay by remanding the case without answers to constitutional questions that seem clearly to control disposition of the case. In thus proceeding we do no injustice to either party inasmuch as the essential underlying facts have been agreed upon.

Consequently we shall proceed to restate the questions. Before doing so, however, it is well to point out that the focal point of this controversy centers around § 5 of Ch. 39. It is not argued by plaintiffs that the legislature was without power to determine local policy with respect to 'the execution or application of agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment.' Section 14(b), Labor Management Relations Act (1947), § 164(b), 29 U.S.C. (1958). That is understandable in view of the several holdings of state courts and the United States Supreme Court recognizing the right. Retail Clerks Intl. Assoc., Local 1625, AFL-CIO v. Schermerhorn, 375 U.S. 96, 84 S.Ct. 219, 11 L.Ed.2d 179; Annotation 92 A.L.R.2d 598. The real contention of plaintiffs is that § 5 set forth above goes beyond those limits and is in direct contravention of the provisions of § 9(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act (1947), § 159(a), 29 U.S.C. (1958). The...

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6 practice notes
  • Sweeney v. Pence, No. 13–1264.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 2, 2014
    ...labor organization as a condition of employment....’ ” Id. at 458. See also Local Union No. 415 of Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. Hansen, 400 P.2d 531, 536–37 (Wyo.1965) (finding preempted statute providing that “no person is required to have any connection with” a labor organization as a c......
  • Sweeney v. Pence, No. 13–1264.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 2, 2014
    ...labor organization as a condition of employment....’ ” Id. at 458. See also Local Union No. 415 of Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. Hansen, 400 P.2d 531, 536–37 (Wyo.1965) (finding preempted statute providing that “no person is required to have any connection with” a labor organization as a c......
  • Sweeney v. Pence, No. 13–1264.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 2, 2014
    ...labor organization as a condition of employment....’ ” Id. at 458. See also Local Union No. 415 of Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. Hansen, 400 P.2d 531, 536–37 (Wyo.1965) (finding preempted statute providing that “no person is required to have any connection with” a labor organization as a c......
  • Local 514, Transport Workers of America v. Keating, No. CIV-01-633-S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Oklahoma
    • June 5, 2002
    ...context of a state's right-to-work legislation. In Local Union No. 415 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v. Hansen, 400 P.2d 531 (Wyo. 1965), the Wyoming Supreme Court addressed the issue of severability in the context of a challenged provision to Wyoming's right-to-wor......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Sweeney v. Pence, No. 13–1264.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 2, 2014
    ...labor organization as a condition of employment....’ ” Id. at 458. See also Local Union No. 415 of Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. Hansen, 400 P.2d 531, 536–37 (Wyo.1965) (finding preempted statute providing that “no person is required to have any connection with” a labor organization as a c......
  • Sweeney v. Pence, No. 13–1264.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 2, 2014
    ...labor organization as a condition of employment....’ ” Id. at 458. See also Local Union No. 415 of Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. Hansen, 400 P.2d 531, 536–37 (Wyo.1965) (finding preempted statute providing that “no person is required to have any connection with” a labor organization as a c......
  • Sweeney v. Pence, No. 13–1264.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 2, 2014
    ...labor organization as a condition of employment....’ ” Id. at 458. See also Local Union No. 415 of Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers v. Hansen, 400 P.2d 531, 536–37 (Wyo.1965) (finding preempted statute providing that “no person is required to have any connection with” a labor organization as a c......
  • Local 514, Transport Workers of America v. Keating, No. CIV-01-633-S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Oklahoma
    • June 5, 2002
    ...context of a state's right-to-work legislation. In Local Union No. 415 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v. Hansen, 400 P.2d 531 (Wyo. 1965), the Wyoming Supreme Court addressed the issue of severability in the context of a challenged provision to Wyoming's right-to-wor......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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