Super Tire Engineering Co. v. McCorkle, Civ. A. No. 853-71.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
Writing for the CourtLouis C. Portella, Portella, Donovan & Favieri, Cherry Hill, N. J., for defendant, Fred L. Streng
Citation412 F. Supp. 192
PartiesSUPER TIRE ENGINEERING CO. et al., Plaintiffs, v. Lloyd W. McCORKLE, Commissioner of the Department of Institutions and Agencies of the State of New Jersey, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Decision Date29 April 1976
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 853-71.

412 F. Supp. 192

SUPER TIRE ENGINEERING CO. et al., Plaintiffs,
Lloyd W. McCORKLE, Commissioner of the Department of Institutions and Agencies of the State of New Jersey, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Civ. A. No. 853-71.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey.

April 29, 1976.

Gerard C. Smetana, Borovsky, Smetana, Ehrlich & Kronenberg, Washington, D. C., Herbert G. Keene, Jr., Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, Philadelphia, Pa., Edward C. Laird, Archer, Greiner & Read, Haddonfield, N. J., for plaintiff, Super Tire Engineering Co.

William F. Hyland, Atty. Gen. of N. J. by Stephen Skillman, Paul N. Watter, Trenton, N. J., for defendants, Lloyd W. McCorkle, Commissioner, Dept. of Institutions and

412 F. Supp. 193
Agencies, and Irving J. Engelman, Director, Division of Public Welfare

Louis C. Portella, Portella, Donovan & Favieri, Cherry Hill, N. J., for defendant, Fred L. Streng.

Martin F. McKernan, Jr., City Atty., Camden, N. J., for defendant, Juanita E. Dicks, former Welfare Director of the Municipal Welfare Department of the City of Camden.

Robert F. O'Brien, Tomar, Parks, Seliger, Simonoff & Adourian, Camden, N. J., for intervenor, Teamsters Local Union No. 676.


GERRY, District Judge.

Pursuant to the regulations of the New Jersey Department of Institutions and Agencies,1 workers who are engaged in lawful labor disputes and who are otherwise qualified are eligible for public assistance through New Jersey public welfare programs.2 This action was filed on June 10, 1971 in this Court by two affiliated New Jersey corporations, Super Tire Engineering Co. and Supercap Corporation, and their president and chief executive officer alleging that the corporations' employees were striking and were receiving public assistance under these programs as administered by defendants, the New Jersey Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies, the Director of the Division of Public Welfare, the Director of the Camden County Welfare Board, and the Director of the Municipal Welfare Department of the City of Camden.3 Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief against such eligibility claiming that the payment of public assistance to strikers was contrary to New Jersey law, to the federal policy promulgated by

412 F. Supp. 194
the Social Security Act of 1935,4 and to the federal labor policy as provided for in the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947.5 Before the case was tried, the labor dispute was settled, and the strike ended. The District Court dismissed the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), F.R.C.P., ruling that the appropriate forum for plaintiff's claim was Congress and that the challenged regulations did not violate the Supremacy Clause. On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the action was remanded with instructions to vacate and dismiss the complaint as moot. 469 F.2d 911, 922 (3d Cir. 1972). The United States Supreme Court reversed and remanded for an adjudication on the merits of the controversy holding that declaratory relief was appropriate since the challenged state policies were ongoing and continued to affect the parties' collective bargaining relationship. Super Tire Engineering Co. v. McCorkle, 416 U.S. 115, 124-127, 94 S.Ct. 1694, 1699-1701, 40 L.Ed.2d 1 (1974). Cross motions for summary judgment have subsequently been filed by plaintiffs and the state defendants.6 The sole legal issue for resolution by this Court is whether the New Jersey welfare regulation which provides that "no individual shall be presumed to be unwilling to work, or to be wrongfully refusing to accept suitable employment, merely because he is participating in a lawful labor dispute" is consistent with the applicable provisions of federal law.7

Both parties argue that the federal welfare policy supports their respective positions on the issue of whether federal law prohibits the payment of public assistance to strikers and their families. Since Congress has failed to explicitly delineate its position in this regard, a review of the legislative history of the Social Security Act of 1935 and its amendments, congressional action in related areas, and the relationship of the New Jersey regulations at issue to these developments is mandated.

One of the three major categorical public assistance programs established by the Social Security Act is Aid to Families with Dependent Children which is a joint federal-state program designed for needy children who have been "deprived of parental support or care by reason of the death, continued absence from the home, or physical or mental incapacity of a parent" and who are living with one of a specified group of relatives. 42 U.S.C. § 606(a). "Protection of such children is the paramount goal of AFDC." King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309, 325, 88 S.Ct. 2128, 2137, 20 L.Ed.2d 1118, 1130 (1968). Although the initial AFDC program limited eligibility to needy children, in 1950 Congress authorized the payment of benefits to also meet the needs of the caretaker relatives of these dependent children. 64 Stat. 551 (1950), (42 U.S.C. § 606(b)(1)). In order for either the dependent child or the adult caretaker relative to qualify for assistance, the need requirements set by the state must be met and the dependent child must be deprived of parental support by virtue of death, disability, or absence from the home. See generally, King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309, 88 S.Ct. 2128, 20 L.Ed.2d 1118 (1968). These

412 F. Supp. 195
conditions to eligibility have been established by Congress, and a state electing to participate in this program is free to set its own standard of need and level of benefits, but it is not free to modify or supplement these eligibility requirements. Townsend v. Swank, 404 U.S. 282, 286, 92 S.Ct. 502, 505, 30 L.Ed.2d 448, 452-53 (1971); Carleson v. Remillard, 406 U.S. 598, 600, 92 S.Ct. 1932, 32 L.Ed.2d 352 (1972)

The receipt of public assistance by families which included individuals who were on strike has been a practice in the United States throughout this century.8 Under the Federal Emergency Relief Act of 1933, 73d Cong., Sess. I, Ch. 28-30, the predecessor of the categorical assistance provisions of the Social Security Act, benefits were paid to strikers. See also Bureau of Social Science Research, Inc., Legislative History of the Aid to Dependent Children Program, 12-16 (1970). In 1933, Congress provided striking workers of the railroad industry with benefits under specified conditions pursuant to the Railroad Employment Insurance Act, 45 U.S.C. §§ 351 et seq., 354(a-2)(iii). Striker eligibility under the Unemployment Compensation Act of 1935, 42 U.S.C. § 501 et seq., was deferred by Congress to each state. See 79 Cong. Rec. 5782, 9284 (1935) (Remarks of Congressmen Cooper and Wagner), Under the Food Stamp Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2011, et seq., which is a coordinated program with AFDC,9 otherwise eligible strikers are qualified to participate. An effort in 1970 to exclude their participation was rejected. 7 U.S.C. § 2014(c). Similarly, congressional attempts to prohibit AFDC benefits to eligible strikers have been defeated. In 1972, the administration introduced legislative proposals which contained an explicit provision to deny strikers benefits under the AFDC program. Senate Report No. 92-1230, 92d Cong., 2d Sess. 108, 472-73 (1972). This modification was debated on the Senate floor but deleted prior to the vote. 118 Cong.Rec. 16815, 17049-17052. Likewise, three bills which sought to amend the Social Security Act in order to proscribe AFDC-U benefits for strikers were introduced in the House of Representatives in 1973, but they were not passed. H.R. 9422, 9748, 9903, 93d Cong., 1st Sess. (1973).

Although Congress has amended the Social Security Act numerous times since 1935,10 and has reconsidered and modified the original conditions to AFDC eligibility,11 it has not excluded strikers and their families from the program. Plaintiffs argue that these subsequent amendments to AFDC eligibility implicitly excluded striking workers by contending that a person engaged in an economic strike has terminated his employment without good cause as is mandated by 42 U.S.C. §§ 602(a)(19)(F), 607(b)(1)(B), and is not an unemployed individual within the context of the Social Security Act. It is difficult for this Court to conclude that Congress, fully aware of the fact that strikers were receiving welfare benefits under the Act, intended by its silence on the issue to terminate that practice. Even so, these amendments do not implicitly exclude strikers, otherwise qualified, from receiving welfare benefits.

412 F. Supp. 196

The good cause requirement within the Act speaks to an employable individual's rejection of an offer of employment or training. Nothing in the New Jersey regulations relieves a striker of any of the eligibility requirements which must be met by others. A striker must register for work and accept an offer of employment other than the job at issue in the strike. 42 U.S.C. § 602(a)(8)(C)(ii). See also Super Tire Engineering Co. v. McCorkle, 416 U.S. at 132, n. 4, 94 S.Ct. at 1703, 40 L.Ed.2d at 14 (Stewart, J., dissenting); Francis v. Davidson, 340 F.Supp. 351, 366-67 (D.Md. 1972), aff'd 409 U.S. 904, 93 S.Ct. 223, 34 L.Ed.2d 168 (1972). The New Jersey regulation does not declare than an economic strike is good cause for terminating employment nor that it is prohibited conduct sanctioned by ineligibility for public assistance. Rather, Regulation MA...

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3 cases
  • Brunner v. State of Minnesota, 49412.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • November 13, 1979
    ...456 (1971); King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309, 334, 88 S.Ct. 2128, 2142, 20 L.Ed.2d 1118, 1135 (1968); Super Tire Engineering Co. v. McCorkle, 412 F.Supp. 192, 195 (D.N.J.1976), affirmed, 550 F.2d 903 (3rd Cir.), certiorari denied, 434 U.S. 827, 98 S.Ct. 106, 54 L.Ed.2d 86 (1977); Doe v. Hursh, 3......
  • Super Tire Engineering Co. v. McCorkle, 76-1869
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • February 25, 1977
    ...the district court's careful analysis and conclusion that New Jersey's regulations are not inconsistent with federal welfare policy. 412 F.Supp. 192 (D.N.J.1976). The judgment of the district court will be affirmed. --------------- * Honorable Barron P. McCune, of the United States District......
  • Willard v. State, Dept. of Social and Health Services, 45933
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • March 29, 1979
    ...modify Eligibility requirements. King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309, 88 S.Ct. 2128, 20 L.Ed.2d 1118 (1968); Super Tire Eng'r Co. v. McCorkle, 412 F.Supp. 192 (D.N.J.1976), Aff'd 550 F.2d 903 (3d Cir. The Washington rules and regulations related to AFDC grants are found in WAC 388-24 through 388-33......

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