372 U.S. 284 (1963), 730, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.

Docket Nº:No. 730
Citation:372 U.S. 284, 83 S.Ct. 691, 9 L.Ed.2d 759
Party Name:Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.
Case Date:March 04, 1963
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 284

372 U.S. 284 (1963)

83 S.Ct. 691, 9 L.Ed.2d 759

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers

v.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.

No. 730

United States Supreme Court

March 4, 1963

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES

COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

Pursuant to § 6 of the Railway Labor Act, respondent railroads served on petitioners, unions of operating employees, notices of intended changes in agreements affecting rates of pay, rules and working conditions. After lengthy negotiations had failed to produce agreement concerning the proposed changes, the parties agreed to the creation of a Presidential Railroad Commission to investigate and report on the controversy and to use its best efforts to bring about an amicable settlement by mediation. The appointment and efforts of such a Commission having failed to produce agreement, the unions applied for the services of the National Mediation Board under § 5. Many meetings between the parties under the auspices of that Board having failed to produce agreement, and the unions having refused to submit the dispute to arbitration, the Board terminated its services. The railroads then served notice on the unions that the proposed changes would be placed in effect 30 days later. The unions sued in a Federal District Court for a judgment that the proposed rule changes would violate the Act. The District Court dismissed the complaint after finding that both parties had exhausted all procedures available under the Act and that, therefore, they were free to resort to self-help, subject only to the appointment of an Emergency Board by the President under §10. The Court of Appeals affirmed, and the unions petitioned this Court for certiorari.

Held: Certiorari is granted and the judgment is affirmed. Pp. 285-291.

(a) The courts below correctly rejected the contention of the unions that the standards contained in the railroads' notices violated the Act, since the Act does not fix and does not authorize anyone to fix generally applicable standards for working conditions. Pp. 289-290.

(b) The record sustains the findings of both lower courts that the parties have exhausted the procedures provided by the Act for major disputes such as that involved here, and that the parties are

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relegated to self-help in adjusting this dispute, subject only to the invocation of the provisions of §10, providing for the creation of an Emergency Board. Pp. 290-291.

310 F.2d 503 affirmed.

Per curiam opinion.

PER CURIAM.

Certiorari is granted and the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed for the reasons stated in this opinion.

The petitioners, hereinafter referred to as the Organizations, are the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, and Switchmen's Union of North America. The respondents, hereinafter referred to as the Carriers, are the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company and 15 other named railroad companies, as representatives of a class of more than 200 such companies.

In February of 1959, the Association of American Railroads proposed the creation of a presidential commission to investigate and report on the possibility of a radical overhaul of working rules affecting the Organizations and their members in the light of substantial technological changes in the railroad industry. The basis for this proposal was that

. . . drawing up sound new work standards for the railroad industry has become so complex and challenging that the machinery provided for settling ordinary disputes appears hopelessly inadequate to cope with this task.

The Organizations opposed this proposal, and the President of the United States, in September of 1959, refused to appoint such a commission.

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On November 2 of that year, pursuant to § 6 of the Railway Labor Act,1 the Carriers served on the Organizations notices of intended changes in agreements affecting rates of pay, rules, and working conditions. After conferences both on individual railroads and on a national level had failed to produce [83 S.Ct. 693] agreement concerning the proposed changes, the Organizations and the Carriers, in October of 1960, under the auspices of the Secretary of Labor, agreed to the creation of a Presidential Railroad Commission, which was to investigate and report on the controversy and was also...

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