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Mountain States Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Vickers

Supreme Court of Arizona

May 27, 1959

MOUNTAIN STATES TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY, a corporation, Appellant,
v.
E. F. VICKERS, Sr., W. P. Mahoney and Gene Bogard as Chairman and members of the Employment Security Commission of Arizona; The Employment Security Commission of Arizona; Communications Workers of America, Local 8519; H. B. Peterson, B. T. Singer, Margaret Hendricksen; and Nine Hundred Sixty Nine Other Claimants for Unemployment Benefits, Appellees.

Rehearing Denied July 7, 1959.

[86 Ariz. 2] John R. Turnquist, Denver, Colo., and Fennemore, Craig, Allen & McClennen, Phoenix, for appellant.

Robert Morrison, Atty. Gen., Robert Steward, Asst. Atty. Gen., Morris K. Udall, Special Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellees.

W. C. TRUMAN, Superior Court Judge.

This is an appeal by the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company, a corporation, (hereinafter referred to as the Company, or Appellant) from the decision of the Superior Court of Maricopa County in which the Court affirmed the findings of the Employment Security Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Commission)

Page 1030

that there had been a violation of the Revenue Accounting Contract by the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company, a corporation, in assigning or transferring an employee from its Revenue Accounting Division to its Disbursement Accounting Division without the agreement of the Union, said contract having been entered into on the 10th day of December, 1955, between the Company and the Communications Workers of America (hereinafter referred to as the Union), as bargaining agent for the Claimants, and of its Local No. 8519 located in Phoenix, Arizona.

There is also a cross-appeal by the Union from the judgment of the lower court in which the findngs of the Commission declaring the Company to have violated the provisions of the plant contract in regard to promotion were reversed in that the record disclosed that said findings were unsupported by competent, material and substantial evidence.

At stake in this appeal is whether or not some 972 employees of the Company are entitled[86 Ariz. 3] to or eligible for unemployment compensation under Chapter 4, Title 23, Arizona Revised Statutes. The period involved extends from March 7, 1956, the date the employees went on strike when they learned that some would be transferred without approval or consent of the Union to the new Disbursement Accounting Division, to the 11th day of May, 1956, when the strike was terminated by mutual agreement.

Under the appropriate provisions of the law involved there was a hearing before a special deputy, thence an appeal to the Commission and a review of the final decision of the Commission by the Superior Court of Maricopa County, and now this appeal to this Court. The case as presented concerns itself with two of several contracts negotiated between representatives of the Union and the Company. They are designated in this decision as the 'Plant Contract' and the 'Revenue Accounting Contract'.

The dispute in regard to the Revenue Accounting Contract arose when the Company transferred, or the Union learned that the Company planned to tranfer, certain of the employees of the Revenue Accounting Division to the new Machine Service Section of the Disbursements Accounting Division without mutual agreement of the parties to the contract. There is no dispute as to the facts; that issue must be decided upon the interpretation of the contract in the light of the law germane thereto.

The pertinent sections of the contract which the Union claims the Company violated by such action read as follows:

'Article 1--Recognition

'1.1 The Company hereby recognizes the Union as the exclusive bargaining agent for all eligible employees in the Revenue Accounting Division in the state of Arizona, whose titles are included in the list of job titles contained in Attachment B, attached hereto and made a part hereof, hereinafter called 'employees' for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment.

'1.2 Neither the Company nor the Union shall either change, delete or add to the list of job titles contained in Attachment B, or establish new job titles or classifications for employees included in or eligible for inclusion in the Arizona Revenue Accounting Division bargaining unit, except by mutual agreement between the Company and the Union. Only those changes, deletions or additions or new job titles or classifications as are mutually agreed upon shall be made to the list of job titles contained in Attachment B.'

It was the apparent position of the lower court that before a transfer of employees might be made from one department of the Company to another, or from one bargaining[86 Ariz. 4] unit to another bargaining unit, or from one bargaining unit to a non-bargaining unit, the matter must first be presented to the Union representatives and a mutual ...


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