DART v. Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 1338, No. 06-0034 (Tex. Dec. 19, 2008)
(Hecht)(federal preemption issue, state sovereign immunity)
DALLAS AREA RAPID TRANSIT v. AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION LOCAL NO. 1338; from Dallas County;
5th district (05-05-00241-CV, 173 SW3d 896, 10-14-05)
The Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and dismisses the case.
Justice Hecht delivered the opinion of the Court.
Section 13(c) of the federal Urban Mass Transit Act of 1964 (the “UMTA”, now the
Federal Transit Act) conditions a public transportation authority’s receipt of federal
financial assistance on “arrangements the Secretary of Labor concludes are fair and
equitable” to protect “the interests of employees affected by the assistance”. Such
arrangements “shall include provisions that may be necessary for . . . the preservation
of rights, privileges, and benefits . . . [and] the protection of individual employees
against a worsening of their positions related to employment”.
In this case, a public transportation authority and its employees’ union, operating under
a 13(c) arrangement, resolved a general grievance over wages and benefits. The
authority did not adhere to the resolution, and the union sued for breach of contract.
The lower courts concluded that the authority is not immune from suit. The issue
before us is whether section 13(c) preempts an authority’s immunity from suit under
We hold that immunity is not preempted and that the union’s recourse is to the
procedures approved in the 13(c) arrangement. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment
of the court of appeals and dismiss the case.