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U.S. Supreme Court

Jackson Transit Auth. v. Transit Union, 457 U.S. 15 (1982)

Jackson Transit Authority v. Local Division 1285,

Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO-CLC

No. 81 111

Argued April 21, 1982

Decided June 7, 1982

457 U.S. 15


Section 13(c) of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 requires a state or local government to make arrangements to preserve transit workers' existing collective bargaining rights before that government may receive federal financial assistance for the acquisition of a privately owned transit company. Petitioner city entered into a "§ 13(c) agreement" with respondent transit union in order to obtain federal funds to acquire a failing private bus company and convert it into petitioner Jackson Transit Authority. Thereafter, the Authority's unionized workers were covered by a series of collective bargaining agreements. In 1975, however, the Authority notified the union that it no longer considered itself bound by the newest of the collective bargaining agreements. The union subsequently filed suit in Federal District Court, seeking damages and injunctive relief and alleging that petitioners had breached the § 13(c) and collective bargaining agreements. The District Court held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the complaint rested on contract rights that should be enforced only in a state court. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that there was subject matter jurisdiction because the claim arose under a federal law, specifically § 13(c), and that § 13(c) implicitly provided a federal private right of action.

Held: Section 13(c) does not provide the union with federal causes of action for alleged breaches of the § 13(c) and collective bargaining agreements. While § 13(c)'s language supplies no definitive answer, the legislative history is conclusive that Congress intended that such agreements be governed by state law applied in state courts. Congress designed § 13(c) as a means to accommodate state law to collective bargaining, not as a means to substitute a federal law of collective bargaining for state labor law. Pp. 457 U. S. 20-29.

650 F.2d 1379, reversed and remanded.

BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. POWELL, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which O'CONNOR, J., joined, post, p. 457 U. S. 29. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 457 U. S. 16

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