Labor Law – Collective Bargaining – Right of Power of Municipalities to Engage in Collective Bargaining

Plaintiff, Weakley County Municipal Electric System, sought to enjoin defendant union members and unions from continuing alleged picketing, intimidation of non-strikers and other acts incidental to a strike. Defendants had gone on strike to compel plaintiffs to recognize Local Union 835, IBEW, as the bargaining agent of plaintiffs’ employees and to sign a contract with the union. The chancellor granted a permanent injunction on the ground that the strike was illegal and against public policy, as a municipality has no right or power to bargain collectively. On appeal to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, held, affirmed. Even though the county was acting in a proprietary capacity in operating a public utility, it had no authority, absent express statutory authorization, to bargain collectively with its employees as the union demanded; as even peaceful picketing for an unlawful purpose may be enjoined, the permanent injunction was properly granted. Weakley County Municipal Electric System v. Vick, (Tenn. App. 1957) 33 CCH Lab. Gas. ¶70,874.