United Public Workers of AmericaAlternative names
Of current interest to many scholars and politicians is the issue of unionization in government and the industries directly effecting the public health and safety, ie., the public utilities. Various formulas and solutions have been presented by both public and private sources, but most of these do not contain a generally applicable answer to the question of how to provide employees with the right to organize and bargain collectively and yet maintain the vital public services of these institutions.
After a wave of strikes in 1946, the State of New Jersey attempted to solve this problem through passage of a statute providing for seizure of struck public utilities and operation of these utilities by the government for the duration of the strike. This statute was amended in 1947 by a provision for compulsory arbitration of the issues of a work stoppage or the issues preventing new contract determination. A punitive penalty of ten thousand dollars per day was to be levied against any union which struck a public utility with an additional $250-500 penalty to be ordered against any person or persons who aided or abetted such a stoppage. An additional provision stated that each day of work stoppage was to be considered a new offense.
On April 7, 1947. the Traffic Telephone Workers Federation went on strike against the Bell Telephone Company in New Jersey. On April 10, the governor filed suit against the . Union for $10,000 under the terms of the public utilities statute. On the following day, officers of the Telephone Federation and several other employees of the telephone company were arrested and subsequently released on $500 bond.
A case was brought before the District Court by the American Civil Liberties Union to enjoin the application of the statute. An injunction was thereby ordered against the enforcement of the statute pending the determination of constitutionality by a higher court. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey.
In a memorandum opinion, Vice-Chancellor Bigelow of the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the statute as a valid exercise of state police power and further stated that the seizure was of the "pro forma" or protective custody typo and, as such, did not deprive the parties "of their property without due process. The Supreme Court of New Jersey later upheld this opinion.
From the guide to the New Jersey vs. the Traffic Telephone Workers Federation of N.J. and the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company. Files, 1948., 1948, (Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.)
|associatedWith||Bell, Daniel, 1919-||person|
|associatedWith||Henrickson, Merle E.||person|
|associatedWith||Herbst, Frank, 1917-1979.||person|
|associatedWith||Hilliard, Raymond M., 1907-1966.||person|
|associatedWith||Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966||person|
|associatedWith||National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees.||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||New Jersey Bell Telephone Company||corporateBody|
|correspondedWith||SHIRLEY GRAHAM DU BOIS, 1896-1977||person|
|associatedWith||Traffic Telephone Federation of New Jersey.||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||United States. Congress. House. Committee on Education and Labor. Special Subcommittee To Investigate Teachers Union, Local No. 555, United Public Workers of America, CIO.||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||United States. District Court (New Jersey)||corporateBody|
|associatedWith||Virginia State Industrial Union Council.||corporateBody|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Collective labor agreements--Public utilities--New Jersey|
|Arbitration, Industrial--New Jersey|
|Public utilities--Employees--Labor unions--New Jersey|