Pulitzer Pub. Co. v. Labor and Indus. Relations Commission

Decision Date11 March 1980
Docket NumberNo. 61692,61692
PartiesThe PULITZER PUBLISHING COMPANY, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION of Missouri, Division of Employment Security et al., Defendants-Appellants.
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

James K. Cook, Cary W. Hammond, St. Louis, Rick V. Morris, Kevin M. Hare, Jefferson City, Morris J. Levin, Lewis E. Mallott, St. Louis, Gary H. Lange, Clayton, for defendants-appellants.

Robert B. Hoemeke, St. Louis, for plaintiff-respondent.

Jess W. Ullom, Clayton, for amicus curiae.

SEILER, Judge.

This is an appeal from a decision of the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis which reversed the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission upholding the eligibility of the members of ten non-striking unions to unemployment compensation. The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, the Division of Employment Security and individual claimants belonging to the ten non-striking unions appealed. We sustained the defendants' application to transfer after an opinion in the court of appeals because of the general interest and importance of the questions presented. We will treat the case as though here on original appeal. Mo.Const. art. V, § 10.

I

The facts as found by the referee and adopted by the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (hereinafter referred to as "the commission") are as follows: respondent The Pulitzer Publishing Company (hereinafter referred to as "the employer") publishes and prints a daily newspaper with plants and facilities at three different locations in St. Louis. The employer also does the printing for the other St. Louis daily newspaper. The employer's newspaper is distributed by carriers who are independent businessmen and not employees of the employer. The employer employs between 2,000 and 2,100 individuals. Between 50 and 100 of these employees are executive and administrative personnel who are not members of any union. About 32 of the remaining employees, less than 2% of all employees, are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers, Local No. 610 (hereinafter referred to as "Teamsters"). The Teamsters performed duties at the docks and loading platforms adjacent to the production plants of the employer, loading and unloading newspapers and newspaper supplements, and were known as "dockmen".

The remaining employees, including the claimants, are members of some ten different skilled and highly skilled trade or craft unions. The services performed by these employees include those of reporters, photographers, photofinishers, photoengravers, lithographers, typesetters, printers, pressmen, mailers, paper handlers, stockmen, operating engineers, switchboard operators, bookkeepers, accountants, machinists, electricians, and maintenance men.

None of the claimants herein belonged the Teamsters, the striking union, nor did any of the claimants or other members of the non-striking unions perform any of the duties performed by the Teamsters. Likewise, none of the Teamsters perform any of the duties performed by the members of the non-striking unions to which the claimants belonged.

Each of the non-striking unions had existing collective bargaining agreements at the time the Teamsters went out on strike. Each of the non-striking unions negotiated their respective collective bargaining agreements with the employer separately from one another and separately from the Teamsters.

The collective bargaining agreement between the employer and the Teamsters expired at midnight, August 21, 1973. Negotiations for a new contract which had begun in early July, were unsuccessful and the Teamsters called a strike at the expiration of the contract. The Teamsters' pickets appeared shortly after midnight on August 21st at all three St. Louis plants. After the teamsters' strike began, the employer suspended operations in the publishing of both its own and the other major St. Louis daily newspaper.

There was no attempt by anyone on behalf of the employer to contact any of the officers or members of the non-striking unions to learn if they would instruct their members not to cross the picket line of the Teamsters if it appeared. Claimants and other members of the non-striking unions did in fact cross the picket lines and were refused work by the employer. Copies of the following letter were distributed to the claimants and other members of the non-striking unions when they crossed the picket lines of the Teamsters and attempted to report for work:

"Because of the action taken by Local 610, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America, it has become impossible to publish, print and distribute the Post-Dispatch.

"In consequence of this we are compelled to notify you that there is no work available for you to perform and that, until further notice you are no longer required to report for work and your renumeration has ceased with the completion of your last shift worked.

"This should in no sense be considered as notice of termination of your emplyment relationship with us, but should only by considered as notice of a period during which there is no work to be performed.

"A limited number of employes needed to maintain the property will be notified individually regarding their assignments.

"When normal operations can be resumed and there is once again work for you to perform you will be notified.

"We want you to know that we repeatedly offered to arbitrate or mediate the issues in dispute with the striking union and the offer was rejected. We did everything possible to avert the strike and regret exceedingly that this situation has been forced on us affecting as it does so many loyal and faithful employes.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch"

Only one (Local 47) of the ten non-striking unions notified its members that it would sanction the Teamsters' picket lines. This sanction was in accord with the union's contract with the employer and was intended to prevent the employer from disciplining members of the non-striking union who might choose to refuse to cross the picket lines of the striking union. As noted above, despite this sanction, members of this non-striking union did in fact cross the Teamsters' picket lines. The union president testified that the members of the union were in fact urged to cross the picket lines and perform any and all available work. Later, when the employer learned that members of Local 47 were crossing the picket lines and reporting for work, the employer did not reconsider its decision to shut down its business.

Negotiations between the Teamsters and the employer continued and a settlement of the strike was reached on October 3, 1973. During the strike no newspapers were printed. Some members of the non-striking unions were able to continue working for the employer in such areas as payroll and maintenance during the strike. None of the claimants or their unions participated in the Teamsters' picketing nor made any financial contribution to the Teamsters during the strike. None of the claimants or their unions participated in the negotiations between the Teamsters and the employer, nor was there any indication that any of the non-striking unions had authorized the Teamsters to negotiate any issues with the employer on their behalf.

The ten non-striking unions in their prior negotiations with the employer had dropped or withdrawn issues from their contracts concerning a fifth week of vacation for employees with seniority. The employer nonetheless, unsolicited, informed the unions, orally in most instances and in writing to others, that if any union successfully negotiated an agreement in relation to a fifth week of vacation, each of the other unions would receive the same benefits. One of the issues that remained unresolved at the time of the Teamsters' strike was the Teamsters' demand for a fifth week of vacation for employees with ten years' seniority. The issue was dropped during subsequent negotiations and the final settlement did not grant a fifth week of vacation to any of the Teamsters. Representatives of the various unions to which the claimants belonged testified that their respective unions had not agreed to the employer's offer concerning the issue of a fifth week of vacation.

The referee found, after a hearing which lasted five days, that the claimants were unemployed due to a stoppage of work which existed at the premises where they were last employed. The stoppage of work was caused by a labor dispute between the employer and the dockmen who were Teamsters. The claimants were not of the "same grade or, class" as the members of the union engaged in the labor dispute. The claimants and members of the unions to which they belonged did not have a "direct interest" in the labor dispute, nor did they participate in or finance the dispute. The claimants were, therefore, not ineligible for benefits under the provisions of § 288.040, RSMo 1978. 1 The commission affirmed the findings and decision of the appeals referee. The circuit court, however, reversed the commission's order on the grounds that the order was unsupported by the evidence and not in accordance with the law.

II

The order of the commission is subject to review by the courts to determine whether it is "authorized by law" and whether it is "supported by competent and substantial evidence upon the whole record". Mo.Const. art. V, § 18. In reviewing an administrative decision, the circuit court's inquiry is limited. Board of Education, Mt. Vernon Schools v. Shank, 542 S.W.2d 779, 781 (Mo. banc 1976). The court may not substitute its judgment on the evidence and may not set aside an administrative decision unless the decision is clearly contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Id. at 782. "The court must consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the findings and decision of the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
46 cases
  • Laclede Gas Co. v. Labor and Indus. Relations Com. of Mo.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 12 Julio 1983
    ... ... Commission (Commission). The Commission's decision was affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part by ... Page 657 ... there is supportive evidence for the contrary finding. [Citing cases.]" Pulitzer Publishing Co. v. Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, 596 S.W.2d 413, 417 (Mo. banc 1980) ... ...
  • Citizens for Rural Preservation, Inc. v. Robinett
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 16 Noviembre 1982
    ... ... Pirtle, Members, Air Conservation Commission, Department of ... Natural Resources, State of ... Pulitzer Publishing Co. v. Labor and Industrial Relations ... ...
  • Guinn v. Treasurer of Mo.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 4 Mayo 2020
    ... ... Denying Compensation (the "Award") by the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (the ... 2013) (quoting Underwood v. High Road Indus. , LLC, 369 S.W.3d 59, 66 (Mo.App. 2012) ).This ... evidence for the contrary finding." Pulitzer Pub. Co. v. Labor & Indus. Relations Comm'n , 596 ... ...
  • Pavia v. Smitty's Supermarket
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 30 Septiembre 2003
    ... ... , ("Appellant") appeals the decision by the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission ... ACF Indus., Inc., 657 S.W.2d 71, 74 (Mo.App.1983) ... (quoting Pulitzer Pub. Co. v. Labor & Ind. Rel. Comm'n, 596 S.W.2d ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT