Samuelson v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen

Decision Date05 September 1944
Docket Number2283,2282
Citation151 P.2d 347,60 Wyo. 316
PartiesM. A. SAMUELSON, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD TRAINMEN, ROCKY MOUNTAIN LODGE NO. 852 OF THE BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD TRAINMEN, R. L. ABBOTT, D. G. ARMSTRONG, L. L. HOLLIDAY, O. E. BESS, ED. CAMPBELL, G. M. LUDTKE, R. C. SELVIDGE and M. SHEA, Defendants and Appellants; Burlington Transportation Company, a Corporation, B. F. Longacre, R. H. Phelps and C. B. Metz, Defendants; M. A. SAMUELSON, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD TRAINMEN, ROCKY MOUNTAIN LODGE NO. 852 OF THE BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD TRAINMEN, R. L. ABBOTT, D. G. ARMSTRONG, L. L. HOLLIDAY, O. E. BESS, ED. CAMPBELL, G. M. LUDTKE, R. C. SELVIDGE and M. SHEA, Defendants and Respondents; Burlington Transportation Company, a Corporation, B. F. Longacre, R. H. Phelps and C. B. Metz, Defendants
CourtWyoming Supreme Court

Appeal from District Court, Laramie County; Sam M. Thompson, Judge.

Action by M. A. Samuelson against the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, Rocky Mountain Lodge No. 852 of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, Burlington Transportation Company, and others, to determine whether plaintiff's seniority rights as a bus driver in the employ of the Burlington Transportation Company had been improperly ranked. From the judgment entered, both the plaintiff and the defendants except for the Burlington Transportation Company, B. F Longacre, R. H. Phelps, and C. B. Metz, appeal.

Reversed in part and affirmed in part with instructions.

These causes were submitted upon the brief of Ellery, McClintock and Gray, of Cheyenne, Wyoming for plaintiff and respondent in case No. 2282, and for plaintiff and appellant in case No 2283, and upon the brief of John U. Loomis and Edward T Lazear, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, for defendants and appellants in case No. 2282, and for defendants and respondents in Case No. 2283.

POINTS OF COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF

A contract entered into between an employer and a trade union is primarily one, as far as it goes, for the benefit of each individual member of the union. Beatty v. C. B. & Q. R Co., 52 P. 2d 404, 406.

All employees obtain the benefit thereof whether they belong to an affiliated lodge or not. The rights secured to an employee by schedules the courts will protect even as against the Brotherhood of which he may be a member. A Brotherhood's interpretation of schedules, procured through the efforts of the organization, and its determination of a controversy according to its constitution and practice, should mean much to the courts. George T. Ross Lodge No. 831, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, et al., v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, et al., 254 N.W. 590 (Minn.) , 593.

The agreement published by the managers becomes the rule of the industry and any individual who thereafter continues in its employment or takes new employment, takes it on the terms thereby fixed. The employment though indefinite as to time is a relationship while it lasts, and is subject to the conditions fixed in the working agreement for the industry. A worker cannot be discharged for causes prohibited by the agreement or without a hearing if that is provided, and the agreed seniorities must be observed in promoting, laying off, or reemploying men. Yazoo & M.V.R. Co. v. Webb, 64 F.2d 902, 903, 904 (C.C.A. 5th-1933); Gregg v. Starks et al., 224 S.W. 459 (Ky.); Rentschler v. Missouri P. R. C., 253 N.W. 694 (Nebr.); Ledford et al. v. Chicago M. & St. P. R. ___, N.E.2d 568 (Ill.); Nord et al. v. Griffin, 86 F.2d 481 (7th Cir.); Yazoo & M.V.R. Co. v Sideboard, 133 So. 669, 671 (Miss.); Illinois Central R. Co. v. Moore, 112 F.2d 959 (5th Cir.); Lockwood v. Chitwood, 89 P. 2d 951 (Okla.).

If the members of an organization wish to settle their rights among themselves and under their own rules, they should be allowed to do so. Courts exist for the purpose of redressing wrongs and when a member of a voluntary association such as this union by arbitrary and wrongful action deprives an individual of his valuable rights, the courts must intercede. Donovan v. Travers, 188 N.E. 705.

The minutes of a meeting cannot be varied by parol evidence to show something done at said meeting different from what is shown by the minutes. People ex rel Reilly v. City of Kankakee et al., 6 N.E.2d 260.

Where officials are required to keep a record of the proceedings of their office, such constitute the only lawful evidence of action taken and cannot be contradicted, added to, or supplemented by parol. People ex rel. Pfeiffer et al v. Morris et al., 6 N.W.2d 864; Murphy v. Cuddy, 1 A.2d 758 759 (S.C., N.J. 1938); Childress et al v. Peterson et al., 117 P. 2d 336 (Cal.); Avery v. City of Chicago, 178 N.E. 351 (Ill.); Penton v. Brown-Crummer Inv. Co. 131 So. 14 (Ala.); Northern Trust Co. v. Snyder, 89 N.W. 460 (Wis.).

The constitution, by-laws and rules of a voluntary association or trade union constitute a contract. 63 C.J. 662 Sec. 11; Snav v. Lovely et al., 176 N.E. 791, 793 (Mass.); Polin v. Kaplan, 177 N.E. 833, 834 (N.Y.).

Damages recoverable for a breach of contract are those naturally flowing from the breach. Plaintiff was entitled to bid on a certain run, and the difference between the wages paid for the run he should have had and the run he did have constitutes the damages suffered. Robinson v. Dahm et al., 159 N.Y.S. 1053, 1054; Hamilton v. Rouse et al., 165 N.Y.S. 173, 174, 175, 176.

Lost wages by wrongful acts of the union in breach of contract can be recovered. Reilly v. Hogan et al., 32 N.Y.S.2d Series, 864, 867, 868, 869, 870, 871 (Sup. Ct., Special Term, N. Y. County, 1942.).

A member of a union who has been wrongfully suspended can maintain a suit for damages resulting from such wrongful suspension. The suspended party "May abandon all claims to reinstate and resort to an action for damages." 4 Amer. Jur. 476.

POINTS OF COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS

A Union is a voluntary association of the members thereof and such members are bound by the Union rules and regulations. Crisler v. Crum, (Neb.) 213 N.W. 366; Aulich v. Craigmyle, (Ky.) 59 S.W.2d 560; 63 C.J. 662, Sec. 11; Allen v. Southern P. Co. (Or.) 110 P. 2d 922; Shinsky v. Tracey, (Mass.) 114 N.E. 957; Attig v. International Brotherhood, (Iowa) 300 N.W. 636.

A member subjects himself to the union's authority to administer as well as to make its rules and regulations. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Price, (Tex. App.) 108 S.W.2d 239.

Members' rights of seniority are controlled by the rules and regulations of the Union. Aulich v. Craigmyle, (Ky.) 59 S.W.2d 560; Allen v. Southern P. Co., (Or.) 110 P. 2d 933.

A member is assumed to know the rules and regulations of the Union binding upon him. 63 C.J. 662, Sec. 11; Long v. Baltimore & O. R. Co., (Md.) 141 A. 504; Allen v. Southern P. Co. (Or. ) 110 P. 2d 922.

Members are bound by decisions of union tribunals made under reasonable rules and regulations of the union. Ryan v. New York Cent. R. Co., (Mich.) 255 N.W. 365. (B. of R. T. rules involved.) International Union etc. v. Owens, (Ohio) 162 N.E. 386; Allen v. Southern P. Co. (Or.) 110 P. 2d 933; Grand International Brotherhood v. Marshall, (Tex Civ. App.) 119 S.W.2d 908; Franklin v. Penn. etc. Lines (N.J. Eq.) 193 A. 712. (Adjustment of seniority schedules agreement by R.R.).

The Courts will not interfere with a construction of the rules of a union by its duly constituted authorities, where an honest difference of opinion as to such construction may exist. Harris v. Missouri P. R. Co. (D.C. Ill.) 1 F.Supp. 946; Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Miller (Ind.) 38 N.E.2d 239; Allen v. Southern P. Co. (Or.) 110 P. 2d 933; Order of Railway Conductors v. Shaw, (Okl.) 119 P. 2d 549; Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Price (Tex. App.) 108 S.W.2d 239.

Members are bound by the provisions of union law limiting the time within which remedies within the union may be availed of. Long v. Baltimore & O. R. Co., (Md.) 141 A. 504; Bradford v. Grand International Brotherhood, (La. ) 178 So. 362.

Remedies within the union must be exhausted before a member may resort to the Courts. Burger v. McCarthy (W. Va.) 100 S.E. 492; Long v. Baltimore & O. R. Co., (Md.) 141 A. 504; Shaup v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, (Ala.) 135 So. 327; Crisler v. Crum, (Neb.) 213 N.W. 366; Harris v. Missouri P. R. Co. (D.C. Ill.) 1 F.Supp. 946; 5 C.J. 1364, § 101.

Failure to appeal where method of appeal is provided constitutes failure of the member to exhaust his remedies. Harris v. Missouri P. R. Co. (D.C. Ill.) 1 F.Supp. 946; Maloney v. United Mine Workers, (Pa.) 162 A. 225; Easter v. Brotherhood, (Mo. App.) 157 S.W. 992; Gill v. Grand Lodge (Ky.) 114 S.W.2d 123.

It is the general rule that when the tribunals of the union have power to decide a disputed question their jurisdiction is exclusive, whether or not there is a by-law stating that such decision shall be final. Long v. Baltimore & O. R. Co. (Md.) 141 A. 504; 63 C.J. 701, § 82; Allen v. Southern P. Co., (Or.) 110 P. 2d 933.

Courts will not hold a method of appeal inadequate even though it be cumbersome. Crisler v. Crum (Neb.) 213 N.W. 366; Mulcahy v. Huddell, (Mass.) 172 N.E. 796; Fish v. Huddell, (Ct. of Appeals, D.C.) 51 F.2d 319.

Members of a union whose seniority rights will be affected must be made parties to a seniority proceeding. McMurray v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, (Dist. Ct. Pa.) 50 F.2d 968; 54 F.2d 923; Cannon v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, (Ky.) 89 S.W.2d 620; Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Price (Tex. App.) 168 S.W.2d 239.

A declaratory judgment will not be entered where all interested parties are not before the Court. W.R.S. 1931, Sec. 89-2411; Nashville etc. Ry. Co. v. Wallace, 288 U.S. 249, 260.

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3 cases
  • Leo v. Local Union No. 612 of International Union of Operating Engineers, 29792.
    • United States
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    • November 25, 1946
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    • U.S. District Court — District of Wyoming
    • August 26, 1964
    ...L.Ed. 1325 (1953); Alice M. Anson, et al. v. Hiram Walker & Sons, Inc., 7 Cir., 248 F.2d 380 (1957); Samuelson v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, et al., 60 Wyo. 316, 151 P.2d 347 (1944). From what I have said I hold that The National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1950 at all times ma......
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    • U.S. District Court — District of Wyoming
    • April 20, 1962
    ...73 S.Ct. 906, 97 L.Ed. 1325; Anson et al. v. Hiram Walker & Sons, Inc., 7 Cir., 1957, 248 F.2d 380; Samuelson v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen et al., 1944, 60 Wyo. 316, 151 P.2d 347. Plaintiff has not sustained its complaint against defendants because it has not shown that it has exhaus......

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