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U.S. Supreme Court

Bus Employees v. Wisconsin Board, 340 U.S. 383 (1951)

Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway &

Motor Coach Employees of America, Division 998

v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Board

No. 329

Argued January 9-10, 1951

Decided February 26, 1951*

340 U.S. 383


The Wisconsin Public Utility Anti-Strike Law, which makes it a misdemeanor for any group of public utility employees to engage in a strike which would cause an interruption of an essential public utility service, as applied in these cases, conflicts with the National Labor Relations Act, as amended by the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, and is invalid under the Supremacy Clause of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 340 U. S. 385-399.

1. By the National Labor Relations Act, as amended by the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, safeguarding the right of employees to strike, Congress occupied this field and closed it to state regulation, and any concurrent state regulation of peaceful strikes for higher wages is invalid. Automobile Workers v. O'Brien, 339 U. S. 454. Pp. 340 U. S. 389-390.

2. The Federal Act applies to a privately owned public utility whose business and activities are carried on wholly within a single state. Consolidated Edison Co. v. Labor Board, 305 U. S. 197. Pp. 340 U. S. 391-393.

3. The result finds further support in the 1947 amendments, whereby Congress provided special procedures to deal with strikes which might create national emergencies. Pp. 340 U. S. 393-396.

4. The questions of policy raised here are for legislative determination, and have been resolved by Congress adversely to respondents. This Court, in the exercise of its judicial function, must take the comprehensive and valid federal legislation as enacted and declare invalid state regulation which impinges on that legislation. Pp. 340 U. S. 397-398. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 340 U. S. 384

5. As applied in this case, the Wisconsin Act is in direct conflict with the Federal Act, and therefore is invalid under the Supremacy Clause of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 340 U. S. 398-399.

257 Wis. 43, 42 N.W.2d 471; 258 Wis. 1, 44 N.W.2d 547, reversed.

The cases are stated in the second and third paragraphs of the opinion. The judgments below are reversed, p. 340 U. S. 399. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 340 U. S. 385

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