Retail Clerks International Association, Local 1625 v. Schermerhorn, AFL-CIO

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWHITE
PartiesRETAIL CLERKS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 1625,, et al., Petitioners, v. Alberta SCHERMERHORN et al
Docket NumberNo. 368,AFL-CIO
Decision Date03 June 1963

373 U.S. 746
83 S.Ct. 1461
10 L.Ed.2d 678
RETAIL CLERKS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 1625, AFL-CIO, et al., Petitioners,

v.

Alberta SCHERMERHORN et al.

No. 368.
Argued April 18, 1963.
Decided June 3, 1963.

[Syllabus from 746 intentionally omitted]

S. G. Lippman, Washington, D.C., for petitioners.

Bernard B. Weksler, Miami, Fla., for respondents.

Page 747

Mr. Justice WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

Like National Labor Relations Board v. General Motors Corp., 373 U.S. 734, 83 S.Ct. 1453, decided today, this case involves the status of an 'agency shop' arrangement. We have concluded that the contract involved here is within the scope of § 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act and therefore is congressionally made subject to prohibition by Florida law. We have not determined, however, whether the Florida courts, rather than solely the National Labor Relations Board, are tribunals with jurisdiction to enforce

[Amicus Curiae intentionally omitted]

Page 748

the State's prohibition against such arrangements. Accordingly, the case is retained on the calendar for reargument on the undecided issue.

Retail Clerks Local 1625 is the certified bargaining agent for the Food Fair Stores supermarket chain in five South Florida counties. In October 1960 the union and the employer negotiated a collective bargaining agreement effective until April 1963.1 The contract provided for various terms and conditions of employment, such as protection against discharge except for just cause, paid vacations and holidays, pregnancy leaves of absence, life and hospitalization insurance, paid time off to vote, to serve on juries, and to attend funerals, as well as for wage-and-hour terms; a grievance and arbitration clause was inserted for enforcement of these terms, under which the union and employer agree to divide between them the cost of the grievance-arbitration machinery. The contract also contained Article 19, which is the subject of the present lawsuit:

'Employees shall have the right to voluntarily join or refrain from joining the Union. Employees who choose not to join the Union, however, and who are covered by the terms of this contract, shall be required to pay as a condition of employment, an initial service fee and monthly service fees to the Union for the purpose of aiding the Union in defraying costs in connection with its legal obligations and responsibilities as the exclusive bargaining agent of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit.

Page 749

The aforesaid fees shall be payable on or before the first day of each month, and such sums shall in no case exceed the initiation fees and the membership dues paid by those who voluntarily choose to join the Union. Other than the payment of these service fees, those employees who do not choose to join the Union shall be under no further financial obligations or requirements of any kind to the Union. It shall also be a condition of employment that all employees covered by this Agreement shall on the 30th day following the beginning of such employment or the effective date of this agreement, whichever is later, pay established initial and monthly service fees as shown above.'

The union and the employer jointly posted a notice to employees, immediately after execution of the collective agreement, explaining the new contract with particular reference to the agency shop clause:

'The Agency Shop recognizes that union membership in the State of Florida is a voluntary act of the employee. On the other hand, under an Agency Shop Agreement, those Employees who do not become members of the Union nevertheless are required to pay the necessary service fees to the Local Union in order to aid the Union in meeting its authorized expenses as the exclusive bargaining agent.

'Therefore, the Company and the Union have agreed that even though you may not have joined the Union, you are obligated, under the provisions of the Agency Shop, to pay an initial service fee which is the equal of the initiation fee for Union members and a monthly service fee which is the equal of the monthly dues for those who voluntarily become Union members. Note: An Employee who pays the

Page 750

regular initial fee and regular monthly service fee but does not voluntarily join the Union, does not participate in the internal union affairs even though said Employee receives equal treatment under the contract.'

The present class action was then instituted by respondents, four nonunion employees of Food Fair, who sought a declaration that Article 19 was 'null and void and unenforceable,' a temporary and permanent injunction against petitioner and Food Fair to prevent them from requiring respondents or members of the class on behalf of which they sued (all Food Fair employees covered by the collective agreement) to contribute money to the union under Article 19, and an accounting. The trial court granted a motion to dismiss on the ground that Article 19 did not violate the Florida right-to-work law, Fla.Const. § 12, F.S.A.2 47 L.R.R.M. 2300. The Florida Supreme Court reversed, holding that state law forbade and that its courts could deal with the agency shop clause involved here, and remanded the case for further proceedings in the trial court. 141 So.2d 269, cert. granted, 371 U.S. 909, 83 S.Ct. 253, 9 L.Ed.2d 169.

I.

The case to a great extent turns upon the scope and effect of § 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act, added to the Act in 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 164(b):

'Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the execution or application of agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a

Page 751

condition of employment in any State or Territory in which such execution or application is prohibited by State or Territorial law.'

As is immediately apparent from its language, § 14(b) was designed to prevent other sections of the Act from completely extinguishing state power over certain union-security arrangements. And it was the proviso to § 8(a)(3),3 expressly permitting agreements conditioning employment upon membership in a labor union, which Congress feared might have this result. It was desired to 'make certain' that § 8(a)(3) could not 'be said to authorize arrangements of this sort in States where such arrangements were contrary to the State policy.' H.R.Conf.Rep.No.510, 80th Cong., 1st Sess. 60, 1 Leg.Hist.L.M.R.A. 564.

The connection between the § 8(a)(3) proviso and § 14(b) is clear. Whether they are perfectly coincident, we need not now decide, but unquestionably they overlap to some extent. At the very least, the agreements requiring 'membership' in a labor union which are expressly permitted by the proviso are the same 'membership' agreements expressly placed within the reach of state law by § 14(b). It follows that the General Motors case rules this one, for we there held that the 'agency shop' arrangement involved here—which imposes on employees the only membership obligation enforceable under § 8(a)(3) by discharge, namely, the obligation to pay initiation fees and regular dues—is the 'practical...

To continue reading

Request your trial
490 practice notes
  • Associated General Contractors v. Otter Tail Power, Civ. No. A78-1009.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • November 6, 1978
    ...expressly placed within the reach of state law by § 14(b). Retail Clerks International Association, Local 1625, AFL-CIO v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 751, 83 S.Ct. 1461, 10 L.Ed.2d 678 (1963). Thus, the states may forbid the union shop and the agency shop, and they may enforce the prohibit......
  • Knox v. Serv. Emps. Int'l Union, Local 1000, No. 10–1121.
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 21, 2012
    ...the wisdom of Hudson' s holding. In any event, we have made clear in other cases that money is fungible. Retail Clerks v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 753, 83 S.Ct. 1461, 10 L.Ed.2d 678 (1963). Whether a particular expenditure was funded by regular dues or the special assessment is “of bookk......
  • Sweeney v. Pence, No. 13–1264.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 2, 2014
    ...“completely extinguishing state power over certain union-security arrangements.” Retail Clerks Intern. Ass'n, Local 1625 v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 751, 83 S.Ct. 1461, 10 L.Ed.2d 678 (1963) (“Retail Clerks I ”). Specifically, “[Section 14(b) ] was designed to make certain that § 8(a)(3)......
  • Smith v. Regents of University of California, BERKELEY-ALBANY
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • February 3, 1993
    ..." 'is of bookkeeping significance only rather than a matter of real substance.' " (Ibid., quoting Retail Clerks v. Schermerhorn (1963) 373 U.S. 746, 753, 83 S.Ct. 1461, 1465, 10 L.Ed.2d 678.) For these reasons, the Court has held in the agency-shop context that "it is plainly not an adequat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
490 cases
  • Associated General Contractors v. Otter Tail Power, Civ. No. A78-1009.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • November 6, 1978
    ...expressly placed within the reach of state law by § 14(b). Retail Clerks International Association, Local 1625, AFL-CIO v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 751, 83 S.Ct. 1461, 10 L.Ed.2d 678 (1963). Thus, the states may forbid the union shop and the agency shop, and they may enforce the prohibit......
  • Knox v. Serv. Emps. Int'l Union, Local 1000, No. 10–1121.
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 21, 2012
    ...the wisdom of Hudson' s holding. In any event, we have made clear in other cases that money is fungible. Retail Clerks v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 753, 83 S.Ct. 1461, 10 L.Ed.2d 678 (1963). Whether a particular expenditure was funded by regular dues or the special assessment is “of bookk......
  • Sweeney v. Pence, No. 13–1264.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • September 2, 2014
    ...“completely extinguishing state power over certain union-security arrangements.” Retail Clerks Intern. Ass'n, Local 1625 v. Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 751, 83 S.Ct. 1461, 10 L.Ed.2d 678 (1963) (“Retail Clerks I ”). Specifically, “[Section 14(b) ] was designed to make certain that § 8(a)(3)......
  • Smith v. Regents of University of California, BERKELEY-ALBANY
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • February 3, 1993
    ..." 'is of bookkeeping significance only rather than a matter of real substance.' " (Ibid., quoting Retail Clerks v. Schermerhorn (1963) 373 U.S. 746, 753, 83 S.Ct. 1461, 1465, 10 L.Ed.2d 678.) For these reasons, the Court has held in the agency-shop context that "it is plainly not an adequat......
  • 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