349 U.S. 366 (1955), 131, Whitehouse v. Illinois Central Railroad Co.

Docket Nº:No. 131
Citation:349 U.S. 366, 75 S.Ct. 845, 99 L.Ed. 1155
Party Name:Whitehouse v. Illinois Central Railroad Co.
Case Date:June 06, 1955
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 366

349 U.S. 366 (1955)

75 S.Ct. 845, 99 L.Ed. 1155



Illinois Central Railroad Co.

No. 131

United States Supreme Court

June 6, 1955

Argued February 10-11, 1955




There was submitted to the National Railroad Adjustment Board a dispute between a telegraphers' union and a railroad regarding the latter's employment of a member of a clerks' union in a position which the telegraphers' union claimed should be assigned to one of its members. Notice of the proceeding was served by the Board on the railroad and the telegraphers' union, but not on the clerks' union, which notified the railroad that it would prosecute a claim if its rights were adversely affected by disposition of the claim of the telegraphers' union. The railroad urged the Board to give the clerks' union and its affected member notice and an opportunity to be heard, but this request was denied. Prior to any decision by the Board on the merits of the dispute, the railroad sued in a federal district court to require the Board to serve notice on the clerks' union and its affected member and to enjoin the Board from deciding the dispute until this had been done. The railroad urged that it might be confronted with conflicting claims and might suffer irreparable injury if the dispute were decided without participation of the clerks' union and its affected member.

Held: the injuries anticipated by the railroad are too speculative to warrant resort to extraordinary remedies, such as injunction or mandamus. Pp. 367-374.

212 F.2d 22 reversed.

Page 367

FRANKFURTER, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This suit arose out of a proceeding before the National Railroad Adjustment Board. A dispute had arisen between the Order of Railroad Telegraphers (Telegraphers) and the Illinois Central Railroad Co. (Railroad) regarding the latter's employment of a member of the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees (Clerks) in a position which Telegraphers claimed should, under its collective bargaining agreement with Railroad, be assigned to a member of Telegraphers. After attempted settlement by negotiation had failed, Telegraphers submitted the dispute, in accordance with the Railway Labor Act, 44 Stat. 577, as amended, 48 Stat. 926, 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq., to the Third Division of the National Railroad Adjustment Board. Notice of the proceeding was served by the Board on Telegraphers and Railroad. Railroad was then advised by letter that Clerks would prosecute a claim in the event that the rights of Clerks under their agreement with Railroad were adversely affected by the disposition of Telegraphers' claim. Railroad filed a "submission" with the Board asserting that the disputed position involved clerical work of the type customarily performed by clerical forces in the industry, and was in fact occupied by a member of Clerks, one Shears. Accordingly, Railroad contended, Telegraphers' claim should be denied, but. in any event. notice and opportunity to be heard should be afforded Clerks and Shears.

The ten members of the Board, five representing labor and five representing the carriers, deadlocked on the merits, and a Referee was appointed as a member of the

Page 368

Board, agreeably to § 3, First (l) of the Railway Labor Act. When Telegraphers' claim came on for hearing on May 13, 1953, a carrier member of the Board objected that no notice had been served on Clerks pursuant to the requirement of § 3 First (j) of the Act:

Parties may be heard either in person, by counsel, or by other representatives, as they may respectively elect, and the several divisions of the Adjustment Board shall give due notice of all hearings to the employee or employees and the carrier or carriers involved in any disputes submitted to...

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