331 U.S. 519 (1947), 970, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.

Docket Nº:No. 970
Citation:331 U.S. 519, 67 S.Ct. 1387, 91 L.Ed. 1646
Party Name:Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.
Case Date:June 09, 1947
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 519

331 U.S. 519 (1947)

67 S.Ct. 1387, 91 L.Ed. 1646

Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen

v.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.

No. 970

United States Supreme Court

June 9, 1947

Argued May 6, 1947

APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE

NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION

Syllabus

1. Under § 17(11) of the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended by the Transportation Act of 1940, a union duly designated as the representative of employees of a railroad is given an absolute right, within the meaning of Rule 24(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to intervene in a suit brought under § 16(12) to enjoin the railroad and its employees from violating an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission where the injunction sought would prevent the railroad from carrying out a contract with the union and was directed in part against the employees. Pp. 525-526.

(a) The right of intervention granted to representatives of employees of carriers by § 17(11) applies to a court proceeding under § 16(12), and not merely to proceedings before the Commission. Pp. 526-530.

(b) The right to intervene granted by § 17(11) is absolute, and not merely permissive. Pp. 530-532.

(c) A suit is one "affecting such employees" within the meaning of § 17(11) if the employees would be prejudiced or bound by any judgment that might be entered in the case. Pp. 530-531.

2. An order of a district court denying a union the right under § 17(11) to intervene in such a case is appealable to this Court, which has jurisdiction to consider the appeal on its merits. Pp. 524-525, 531-532.

Reversed.

A district court denied a petition of a union of railroad employees to intervene under § 17(11) of the Interstate Commerce Act and Rule 24(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in a suit brought under § 16 (12) to enjoin the railroad and its employees from violating an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission. On appeal to this Court, reversed, p. 532.

Page 520

MURPHY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE MURPHY delivered the opinion of the Court.

Our concern here is with the intervention rights of representatives of railroad employees in a suit brought against the railroad under § 16(12) of the Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S.C. § 16(12).

The origin of this suit is to be found in an order issued by the Interstate Commerce Commission on May 16, 1922. Chicago Junction Case, 71 I.C.C. 631. See also Chicago Junction Case, 264 U.S. 258. The Commission there approved the purchase by the New York Central Railroad Co. (Central) of all the capital stock of the Chicago River & Indiana Railroad Co. (River Road); it also authorized the leasing to River Road of all the properties of the Chicago Junction Railway Co. (Junction) for 99 years and thereafter, at the lessee's option, in perpetuity. Among the properties in question were trackage and switching facilities at the Union Stock Yards, Chicago, Illinois, connecting with various trunk lines. Prior to the Commission order, the practice had been for the trunk line railroads to use their own power and crews to move their empty and loaded livestock cars over these tracks to and from the loading places in the Union Stock Yards. For the privilege of so moving their cars, the railroads were charged $1.00 per car, loaded or empty.

The Commission made various conditions to its approval of the proposed transactions. The third condition provided:

The present traffic and operating relationships

Page 521

existing between the Junction and River Road and all carriers operating in Chicago shall be continued, insofar as such matters are within the control of the Central.

71 I.C.C. at 639. This condition is still in effect, the Commission's decision and order having been found to be valid and binding on all parties in a proceeding in the District Court in 1929.1

The trunk line railroads have continued to use their own power and crews in moving their livestock cars over the trackage operated by River Road and have paid River Road the amount of $1.00 per car. But, on January 25, 1946, Central and River Road notified the railroads that, on and after February 1, 1946, the cars would be moved over this trackage by means of the power and crews of River Road, and that the handling charge would be $12.96 per outbound loaded car. Soon after this new practice went into effect, the trunk line railroads (appellees herein) brought this suit for preliminary and permanent injunctions under § 16(12) of the Interstate Commerce Act against Central, River Road, and Junction. They claimed that the new practice was in violation of the third condition of the 1922 Commission order. They accordingly sought to enjoin the defendants and "their respective officers, agents, representatives, servants, employees, and successors" from disobeying the order, especially the third condition thereof, and to force the defendants to permit them to move their cars with their own power and crews. The Commission was allowed to intervene as a party plaintiff; its intervening complaint also prayed for an

Page 522

injunction against the alleged violation [67 S.Ct. 1389] of the third condition by the defendants and their employees.2

A stipulation of facts was then filed. After describing the change in handling the cars, it pointed out that this change resulted from a settlement between the River Road and the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen of a labor dispute over the work involved in these livestock car movements. The Brotherhood was the bargaining agent under the Railway Labor Act for the River Road trainmen. It made a demand, based upon its contract with River Road, that these trainmen be given the work of moving and switching the livestock cars over the River Road trackage. The Brotherhood threatened to call a strike unless this demand was met before 10:30 p.m., January 23, 1946, a threat that was backed by an almost unanimous strike vote of the trainmen. Under this threat, River Road made an agreement with the Brotherhood shortly before the scheduled strike hour, as a result of which the River Road trainmen were to be permitted to move and switch the cars. The notice to the trunk line railroads of this change in practice subsequently followed.

The District Court thereupon issued a preliminary injunction as requested. Central, River Road and Junction, and "their respective officers, agents, representatives, employees, and successors," were restrained from disobeying the 1922 Commission order and from violating the third condition of that order, and were commanded to permit the trunk line railroads to move their cars over the River Road line with their own power and crews. The court concluded as a matter of...

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