334 U.S. 446 (1948) ]
[334 U.S. 446 , 448] Messrs. Peyton Ford and Marvin C. Taylor, both of Washington, D.C., for petitioners.
Mr. Monroe Goldwater, of New York City, for respondents.
Mr. Justice REED delivered the opinion of the Court.
These cases present another aspect of the perplexing problem of what constitutes the regular rate of pay which the Fair Labor Standards Act requires to be used in computing the proper payment for work in excess of forty hours. The applicable provisions read as follows:
(3) for a workweek longer than forty hours after the expiration of the second year from such date, unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed.' 1
The problem posed is the method of computing the regular rate of pay for longshoremen who work in foreign and interstate commerce varying and irregular hours throughout the workweek under a collective bargaining agreement for handling cargo which provides contract straight time hourly rates for work done within a prescribed 44-hour time schedule and contract overtime rates for all work done outside the straight time hours. 2
These two suits were brought as class actions on behalf of all longshoremen employed by two stevedoring companies, Bay Ridge Operating Co ., and Huron Stevedoring [334 U.S. 446 , 450] Corp., to recover unpaid statutory excess compensation3 in accordance with 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 4 By stipulation the claims of ten specific longshoremen in each case were severed and the two suits were consolidated for trial, leaving the claims of the other plaintiffs pending on the docket. The claims of the plaintiffs here are for the period October 1, 1943, to September 30, 1945. [334 U.S. 446 , 451] The terms of employment for the respondents, longshoremen working in the Port of New York, were fixed for the period in question by the collective bargaining agreement between the International Longshoremens Association and the New York Shipping Association together with certain steamship and stevedore companies. It was applicable to the two petitioners. The agreement established a 'basic working day' of eight hours and a 'basic working week,' that is, workweek, of forty-four hours; hourly rates for different types of cargo were specified for work between 8 a.m. and 12 noon and between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. during five working days of the week, Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, and a different schedule of rates for work during all other hours in the workweek. The first schedule was called 'straight time' rates, and the second schedule was entitled 'overtime' rates. This opinion designates these rates as contract straight time and contract overtime. For four types of cargo the overtime rates were exactly one and a half times the straight time rates; for four other types the overtime rates were slightly less than one and a half times the straight time rates. The contract straight time rates ranged from $1.25 to $2.50 an hour. The contract overtime rates were paid for all work on Sundays and legal holidays. The contract provided for no differential for work in excess of forty hours in a week. 5 [334 U.S. 446 , 452] Respondents claim that their regular rate of pay under the contract for any workweek within the meaning of [334 U.S. 446 , 453] s 7(a), is the average hourly rate computed by dividing the total number of hours worked in any workweek for any single employer into the total compensation received from that employer during that week; and that in those workweeks in which they worked more than forty hours for any one employer they were entitled by 7(a) to statutory excess compensation for all such excess hours computed on the basis of that rate. The petitioners claim that the straight time rates are the regular rates, and that they have, therefore, with minor exceptions not presented by this review, complied with the requirements of 7(a). That is, no rates except straight time rates are to be taken into consideration in computing the regular rate. The petitioners contend that the contract overtime rates were intended to cover any earned statutory excess compensation and did cover it because they were substantially in an amount of one and one-half times the straight time rates. The District Court held that the contract straight time rates were the regular rates but the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held otherwise.