Constitutional Law – State Action – Trade Union’s Authority is Not Derived from the State

Plaintiffs claimed that defendant union and defendant company conspired to discriminate against Negro cab driver employees by means of a working regulation intended to compel plaintiffs to pick up passengers only in wards inhabited primarily by Negroes. Two bases for original jurisdiction in federal court were advanced. First, it was contended that the cause of action involved more than $3,000 and arose under the laws of the United States because the bargaining power of the union was conferred upon it by the National Labor Relations Act. Second, it was maintained that the Civil Rights Act vested jurisdiction, on the ground that the discrimination was practiced under color of state law since the union acted by authority conferred upon it by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Act. Held, original jurisdiction was not vested in the district court. The right of the union to engage in collective bargaining was recognized long prior to the NLRA and hence its power was not derived from the act. Also, since the power of the union was conferred upon it by the consent of its members, it could not be said that it acted under authority bestowed upon it by either the federal or Pennsylvania acts. Williams v. Yellow Cab Co., (3d Cir. 1952) 200 F. (2d) 302.