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WILLIAMS v. YELLOW CAB CO.

March 3, 1952

WILLIAMS et al.
v.
YELLOW CAB CO. OF PITTSBURGH et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARSH

This action is brought by plaintiffs on their own behalf and as a class action on behalf of all the Negro Cab Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (hereinafter call Company). The complaint alleges that the defendants have entered into a conspiracy to discriminate against plaintiffs and segregate them because of their race. *fn1"

Plaintiffs request, inter alia:

 'a. * * * a declaratory judgment and order defining and declaring the rights of the plaintiffs under the law and the Contract aforesaid and that the said working regulations be declared illegal and void and the said discriminatory practices recited herein be declared illegal.

 'b. For a temporary or interlocutory injunction to be made final and permanent after hearing, enjoining and restraining the continuance of the illegal practices and the deprivation of the constitutional and civil rights of the plaintiffs and all other members of their class.

 'f. For damages as each of the plaintiffs or any other member of the class may establish upon proper hearing of this case.'

 Defendants filed motions to dismiss the complaint for want of jurisdiction. After due consideration the court is of the opinion that the motions to dismiss should be granted.

 Plaintiffs set forth the following jurisdictional allegations:

 1. 28 U.S.C.A § 1331 which states that 'The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions wherein the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $ 3,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and arises under the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States.'

 2. 28 U.S.C.A. § 1343, which is known as the Civil Rights Act, and which states that 'The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action authorized by law to be commenced by any person: * * * (3) To redress the deprivation, under color of any State law, statute, ordinance, regulation, custom or usage, of any right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution of the United States or by any Act of Congress providing for equal rights of citizens or of all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States.'

 3. 19 U.S.C.A § 151 et seq., which is the National Labor Relations Act and which at Section 159(a) states that 'Representatives designated or selected for the purposes of collective bargaining by the majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for such purposes, shall be the exclusive representatives of all the employees in such unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment: * * *.'

 Plaintiffs contend that the right of Taxicab Drivers Local No. 128 (hereinafter called Union) to bargain collectively for all of the employees of the Company was derived from the National Labor Relations Act; or if the court should find that the Company is not engaged in a business affecting interstate commerce so that the N.L.R.A. does not apply, then the right is derived from the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act, Act of June 1, 1937, P.L. 1168, 43 Pa.Purdon's Supp. 211.1 et seq. They then urge that since the right to act as exclusive collective bargaining agent is derived from either of these two acts the Union is bound to the corollary duty to bargain in good faith and without discrimination. In support of this contention they cite Steele v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co., 1944, 323 U.S. 192, 65 S. Ct. 226, 89 L. Ed. 173, and Tunstall v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen, 1944, 323 U.S. 210, 65 S. Ct. 235, 89 L. Ed. 187. See also Graham v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen, 1949, 338 U.S. 232, 70 S. Ct. 14, 94 L. Ed. 22. In the Steele case, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the union, which did not admit Negroes to membership, derived its power to bargain for nonmembers of the union by virtue of the Railway Labor Act. The Court held that since the right was derived from that Act the corollary duty arose to bargain for the nonmembers in good faith and without discrimination. The deciding issue in the instant case on the question of jurisdiction, therefore, is whether the Union is acting as the statutory representative of the plaintiffs, and is governed by the rule in the Steele case, or whether it is acing solely as a private contracting party. If the latter, the court does not have jurisdiction.

 In the Steele case (323 U.S. 192, 65 S. Ct. 230), the Supreme Court stated that since 'petitioner and the other Negro members of the craft are not members of the Brotherhood or eligible for membership, the authority to act for them is derived not from their action or consent but wholly from the command of the Act.' (Emphasis added.) In the case sub judice, however, the Union not only admits plaintiffs to membership, but under the collective bargaining agreement with the Company they are required to become members of the Union. This Agreement, dated May 1, 1950, provides that 'all drivers of the taxicabs owned or operated by it shall be members of the Union, who are in good standing and continue to remain in good standing and whose dues have been fully paid to and including the previous month.' *fn2"

 Plaintiffs in their complaint, paragraphs 7 and 8, aver and lead us to believe that all Negro employees are members of the Union and are entitled to the same rights as white members. They now, however, contend that six *fn3" Negro drivers were never sworn in, and therefore, they are not members of the Union.

 It was stipulated that these men signed applications for membership cards and checkoff forms authorizing the deduction of the initiation fee of $ 25; the deduction of monthly dues of $ 2.25, and the ...


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