State ex rel. O'Leary v. Missouri State Bd. of Mediation

Citation509 S.W.2d 84
Decision Date08 April 1974
Docket NumberNo. 58336,58336
Parties87 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2271, 73 Lab.Cas. P 53,313 STATE ex rel. Honorable Timothy D. O'LEARY, Presiding Judge, 16th Judicial Circuit, et al., Relators, v. MISSOURI STATE BOARD OF MEDIATION et al., Respondents.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri

Harry P. Thompson, Jr., Richard W. Noble, Kansas City, for relators; Shughart, Thomson & Kilroy, Kansas City, of counsel.

William A. Jolley, Jolley, Walsh, Gordon & Staab, Kansas City, Daniel C. Rogers, Chairman, Missouri State Board of Mediation, Jefferson City, for respondents.

MORGAN, Judge.

In this original proceeding, relators seek to prohibit the Chairman of the Missouri State Board of Mediation from entertaining, either voluntarily or in compliance with an alternative writ of mandamus issued by the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri, a petition filed by a union, the Western Missouri Public Employees Local 1812, wherein said union seeks to establish that it has majority representative status with certain employees of the Juvenile Division of the Jackson County Circuit Court and is entitled to be designated as the appropriate bargaining unit for said employees under the provisions of Sections 105.500 to 105.530, RSMo 1969, V.A.M.S. Jurisdiction is in this court by virtue of an order of transfer, entered after opinion, by the Kansas City District of Court of Appeals. Mo.Const. Art. V, § 10, V.A.M.S.

Relators include the Presiding Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri (Jackson County), the designated Juvenile Judge of said circuit and the employed Director of Juvenile Court Services for said county.

Respondents include the Missouri State Board of Mediation, the Chairman thereof, and the Judge of the Circuit Court for Cole County.

The statutory sections noted are captioned, generally, with the designation: 'Labor Organizations.'

Section 105.510, provides, in part, that: 'Employees * * * of any public body (with certain exceptions not of interest herein) shall have the right to form and join labor organizations and to present proposals to any public body relative to salaries and other conditions of employment through the representative of their own choosing.'

Section 105.500(3), under definitions, provides that "Public body' means the state of Missouri, or any officer, agency, department, bureau, division, board or commission of the state, or any other political subdivision of or within the state.'

Section 105.520 provides: 'Whenever such proposals are presented by the exclusive bargaining representative to a public body, the public body or its designated representative or representatives shall meet, confer and discuss such proposals relative to salaries and other conditions of employment of the employees of the public body with the labor organization which is the exclusive bargaining representative of its employees in a unit appropriate. Upon the completion of discussions, the results shall be reduced to writing and be presented to the appropriate administrative, legislative or other governing body in the form of an ordinance, resolution, bill or other form required for adoption, modification or rejection.'

Section 105.530, in part, provides that the rights conferred shall not 'be construed as granting a right to employees covered in sections 105.500 to 105.530 to strike.'

Factually, it appears that on January 1, 1969, the Juvenile Judge entered an 'Order' establishing detailed personnel practices and policies for the employees of Juvenile Court Services for Jackson County. 'Courtroom' employees were not covered by said order nor is it suggested that they, as well as others specified, are to be affected by the outcome of this litigation. The order is before us as an exhibit, and, in so far as of interest here, it established a Personnel Practices Committee composed of eleven employees of Juvenile Court Services, elected by the employees. The agreed function of the committee was to receive, review and present grievances of staff members, relative to employer-employee relations, to the Director of Juvenile Court Services.

Thereafter, Local 1812 began an organizational campaign among the employees and on February 3, 1972, asked for recognition as the exclusive bargaining representative for them under the statutory provisions noted. Whether or not the success of the campaign was due to the organizational skill of the union representative or the dissatisfaction of the employees with the court's personnel plan is not reflected in the record. In any event, the request was denied and Local 1812 filed a petition with the respondent board of mediation seeking a designation of said employees as an 'appropriate bargaining unit' and certification of Local 1812 as the 'bargaining representative.' Upon the board's failure to act, Local 1812 sought and was granted an Alternative Writ of Mandamus by the Circuit Court of Cole County requiring the board to process the petition or show cause why it had not done so. Relators, thereafter, initiated the present action in the Court of Appeals, Kansas City District, and the opinion of that court includes a finding that: 'The majority of this court are of the opinion that it is within the jurisdiction of respondent State Board of Mediation to adjudicate the issues presented by the petition of Local 1812 and that the writ of mandamus of respondent judge which directs such action should be given effect * * * We are troubled, however, by the anomaly of a procedure which would subject courts, trial and appellate alike, to adjudications of a subordinate tribunal. It offends the common law concept of ordered jurisdiction--firmly embedded in our jurisprudence by constitutional provision (Art. V, §§ 1, 2 and 4)--that the State Board of Mediation should be empowered to determine rights of courts which supervise the judgments and jurisdiction of that administrative tribunal.' Such conclusions were reached after consideration had been given to a question--which the court framed as follows: 'The single legal issue posed by the pleadings is whether the mandate of respondent judge directs an exercise of jurisdiction by respondent State Board of Mediation which is an encroachment by the legislative branch upon the separate magistracy of the judicial department of government in violation of Article II, § 1 of the Missouri Constitution.' The parties by written briefs and oral arguments have tended to focus on that issue to sustain their respective positions.

We are convinced that any approach to the problem initially must give recognition to that fundamental issue which stems from one question, i.e., are public employees who work within the judicial department of government to be accorded those constitutional rights enjoyed by other public employees? Absent some compelling reason to the contrary, the answer must be 'yes.'

In so far as of interest here, this court has considered such 'rights' in several cases involving public employees. Prior to the enactment of the statutory provisions being considered, this court in City of Springfield v. Clouse, 356 Mo. 1239, 206 S.W.2d 539 (1947), clearly delineated the distinction between the right of all citizens 'to peacefully assemble and organize for any proper purpose, to speak freely and to present their views and desires to any public officer or legislative body' and the right of 'collective bargaining' as that term is usually understood in the private sector and which contemplates a binding contractual obligation being placed on the employer. (l.c. 542). Therein, the court found no prohibition against public employees exercising the first right noted--to organize and present their views--through union membership, subject, however, 'to some regulation for the public welfare.' (l.c. 542). See also King v. Priest, 357 Mo. 68, 206 S.W.2d 547 (1947), and Glidewell v. Hughey, 314 S.W.2d 749 (Mo. banc 1958).

Thereafter, the statutory provisions now in question were enacted and later considered in light of City of Springfield v. Clouse, supra, and found to be constitutional in State ex rel. Missey v. City of Cabool, 441 S.W.2d 35 (Mo.1969). Therein it was said, l.c. 41:

'Relator and plaintiff employees of Cabool are also protected in the rights granted by and sought under Sections 105.500 to 105.530, supra, by constitutional principles recognized in Missouri prior to enactment of the statute in that 'All citizens (public officers included) have the right, preserved by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Sections 8 and 9 of Article I of the 1945 Missouri Constitution * * * to peaceably assemble and organize for any proper purpose, to speak freely and to present their views and desires to any public officer or legislative body.' City of Springfield v. Clouse, 356 Mo. 1239, 206 S.W.2d 539, 542(1). See also Shelton v. Tucker, 364 U.S. 479, 481--487, 81 S.Ct. 247, 5 L.Ed.2d 231.

'(2--5) Sections 105.500 et seq., supra, do not purport to give to public employees the right of collective bargaining guaranteed by Section 29, Article I, of the 1945 Constitution to employees in private industry and in the sense that term is usually known with its attendant connotation of unfair labor practice for refusal by the employer to execute and adopt the agreement produced by bargaining, Brotherhood of Painters, etc., Local 1385, 143 NLRB 678, 680, and the use of strike as a bargaining device constitutionally protected to private employees, Div. 1287 Amalgamated Assn. of St. Elec. Ry. and Motor Coach Emp. of America v. State of Missouri, 374 U.S. 74, 83 S.Ct. 1657, 10 L.Ed.2d 763, but expressly denied by Section 105.530, supra, to public employees. The act does not constitute a delegation or bargaining away to the union of the legislative power of the public body, and therefore does no violence to City of Springfield v. Clouse, supra, 206 S.W.2d l.c. 543(4), 545--546(8, 9), because the prior discretion...

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