SYSTEM FEDERATION NO. 40, ETC. v. Virginian Ry. Co., No. 329.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
Citation11 F. Supp. 621
Docket NumberNo. 329.
Decision Date24 July 1935
PartiesSYSTEM FEDERATION NO. 40, RAILWAY EMPLOYEES DEPARTMENT OF THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR, et al. v. VIRGINIAN RY. CO.

11 F. Supp. 621

SYSTEM FEDERATION NO. 40, RAILWAY EMPLOYEES DEPARTMENT OF THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR, et al.
v.
VIRGINIAN RY.
CO.

No. 329.

District Court, E. D. Virginia, Norfolk Division.

July 24, 1935.


11 F. Supp. 622

Frank L. Mulholland, of Toledo, Ohio, and S. M. Brandt, of Norfolk, Va., for complainants.

Williams, Loyall & Taylor and Walter C. Plunkett, all of Norfolk, Va., John C. Donnally, of Washington, D. C., and H. T. Hall, of Roanoke, Va., for defendant.

WAY, District Judge.

This is a suit by System Federation No. 40, Railway Employees Department of the American Federation of Labor, and others, against the Virginian Railway Company, seeking to enforce certain rights and praying for certain relief under the Railway Labor Act, as amended June 21, 1934 (US CA title 45, § 151 et seq.). For convenience complainants will be referred to herein as the Federation, the defendant as the Railway, the Mechanical Department Association of the Virginian Railway as the Association, the Independent Shop Crafts Association of the Virginian Railway as the Independent, and the National Mediation Board as the Board.

The beginning of the controversy between the Railway and its shop craft employees, which has resulted in this litigation, dates back prior to July 1, 1922, and unfortunately a decision of the case involves the necessity, it seems to the court, of stating the material facts covering the dispute which has thus extended over a period of twelve years or more.

The Strike of July 1, 1922.

Prior to July 1, 1922, the employees of the Railway were affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. On that date, following the refusal of the Federation to accept certain reductions in pay under an order of the National Railroad Labor Board, which Board was organized pursuant to the provisions of the National Transportation Act of 1920 (41 Stat. 456), the members of the Federation in the Mechanical Department of the Railway went on strike. As a result of the strike when interference with the operation of trains in interstate commerce became acute, the Railway applied for and was granted injunctions by the District Courts of the Western District of Virginia and Southern District of West Virginia, prohibiting the Federation, its officers, agents, and members, from interfering with the employees of the Railway in the performance of their duties, or with the operation by the Railway of its trains in interstate commerce.

Organization of the Mechanical Department Association of the Virginian Railway Company.

On July 3, 1922, the United States Railroad Labor Board adopted a resolution calling upon the employees of carriers generally to organize themselves into associations for the purpose of collective bargaining with respect to matters pertaining to rates of pay, rules, and working conditions. On October 1, 1922, the Mechanical Department employees of the Railway formed the Mechanical Department Association of the Virginian Railway (which Association is hereinafter referred to as the Association) and adopted a written constitution and by-laws. Thereafter, the Association through its general chairman and representatives of the different crafts of said Association entered into a contract with the Railway, dated November 15, 1922, to become effective as of November 15, 1922, and to remain in force one year, and thereafter until changed by the authorized representatives of the respective parties. The Association was kept alive by the election every two years of local committeemen and a chairman for each craft. The chairmen of the six crafts constituted the system committee, which in turn elected a general chairman. The Association continued thus to function from the date of its organization to October 3, 1933, the date the committees of the different crafts, the chairman of each, and the general chairman were elected. As already noted, a form of contract between the Association and the Railway was entered into covering matters pertaining to rates of pay, rules, and working conditions. This contract provided for the establishment of a system board of adjustment consisting of an equal number of representatives on behalf of the Railway and the Association, which board of adjustment was to be final authority for the settlement

11 F. Supp. 623
of grievances and disputes arising with respect to said subject matter of the contract. The relations of the members of the Association so far as it functioned and the Railway seem to have been amicable up to 1927. At that time the Federation became active in its efforts to establish an organization among defendant's employees

With respect to the formation and activities of this Association, the testimony reveals that no employee knew just how or when he became a member thereof, that no dues were ever assessed or paid by members, that meetings were held only once every two years and then apparently for the sole purpose of electing officers and committeemen, that the notices of the elections were sent out from an office of the Railway, that all expense incident to the organization and maintenance of the Association was defrayed by the Railway, and that no substantial grievances were ever taken up by the Association representative with the Railway.

Facts Leading up and Incident to the Dispute in Question which Resulted in the Invocation of the Services of the National Mediation Board.

As already stated, the Federation became active through its agents and organizers in 1927, and this activity finally culminated in the formation of a local organization. The activities of such organization may be summarized as follows: (1) A letter was sent by B. M. Jewell, president of System Federation No. 40, dated March 7, 1934, to the Railway stating that he had been authorized to represent the different shop craft employees of the Railway, and requesting that the letter be accepted as authority for him to represent the crafts. This authorization was not accepted or recognized by the Railway. Prior to April 13, 1934, the Federation invoked the services of the Board of Mediation as constituted under the Railway Labor Act of May 20, 1926 (see 45 USCA § 151 et seq.); and the Railway was notified by letter, dated April 17, 1934, that the services of the Board had been invoked. The Railway advised the Board by letter dated April 24, 1934, that the Federation did not represent the employees involved, that no dispute existed, and that the services of the Board were not required. However, on June 4, 1934, after having taken jurisdiction of the matter, the Board sent a mediator to Norfolk for the purpose of settling the dispute. The Railway accepted the Board's offer of mediation, and the Board sent H. H. Reed, another mediator, to Norfolk on July 5, 1934, to determine whether or not a majority of Railway's mechanical department employees had authorized the Federation to represent them. At that time a conference was held by Mediator Reed with one Duffey representing the Federation and representatives of the Railway, which resulted in arrangements being made for checking authorizations held by the Federation against the Railway's pay rolls for the first half of April, 1934, and also in an agreement that these authorizations should embrace the classes of employees set forth in letter dated March 7, 1934. This check was commenced on July 6, 1934, but before completion Duffey, representing the Federation, notified Mediator Reed that he desired to withdraw the firemen and oilers, roundhouse and shop laborers from the list included in the letter and the request for mediation made to the Board, to which withdrawal protest was made by defendant, but the Board permitted these employees to be withdrawn. Further check under this revised arrangement was concluded on July 16, 1934, with the result that the Federation held authorizations from 408 employees out of a total of 845 excluding firemen and oilers, shop and roundhouse laborers, and 1,058 if the latter were included. The Board took no further action on that check. On August 10, 1934, the Railway received a telegram from the Board, created pursuant to the Railway Labor Act as amended, advising that it had accepted a request from the Federation to investigate and certify representatives of the mechanical department employees of the Railway, against which action the Railway protested. Pursuant to this notification, R. B. Bronson, mediator, was sent to Norfolk on August 13, 1934, to investigate. On August 14, 1934, a conference between Mediator Bronson, C. L. Bentley, representing the Federation, J. W. Sasser, superintendent of motive power, and L. A. Markham, assistant to the president of the Railway, was held and resulted in the selection of J. W. Munsey, general chairman of the Association, as representative of the Association by the Board. This selection of Munsey apparently was over the protest of Mediator Bronson, because at that time Munsey was identified with and active in the Federation. C. L. Bentley insisted upon the selection of Munsey. At this conference a written agreement was

11 F. Supp. 624
prepared by Mediator Bronson and entered into by the above representatives, setting forth the rules and regulations governing the election to be held on August 16, 1934

Statement to the Members of Mechanical Department Association of the Virginian Railway Company on Employee Representation, Issued by J. W. Sasser, Superintendent of Motive Power and Dated July 11, 1934, with the Approval of the Railway.

This statement, after setting forth the purposes of the Railway Labor Act of 1926, said:

"Statements have been made in the press and elsewhere, in many instances with a purpose, that the Amendment to the Railway Labor Act has abolished Company Employee Unions. There is nothing in the Amendment to the Act which prohibits Company Unions, nor the right of such Unions to designate representatives of their choice for the purpose of conferring with...

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22 practice notes
  • Virginian Ry Co v. System Federation No 40, No. 324
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 29, 1937
    ...department employees for the purpose of interfering with the Federation as the accredited representative of such employees. (D.C.) 11 F.Supp. 621. On appeal the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit approved and adopted the findings of the District Court and affirmed its decree. 8......
  • Air Transp. Ass'n of America, Inc. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., Nos. 10–5253
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • December 16, 2011
    ...union), the railroad maintained the Board's certification of the Federation was invalid. See Sys. Fed'n No. 40 v. Virginian Ry. Co., 11 F.Supp. 621, 626 n. 1 (E.D.Va.1935). The Supreme Court upheld the certification of the Federation, however, and, in so doing, interpreted section 2, Fourth......
  • In re Continental Airlines Corp., No. H-84-1747
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • May 31, 1985
    ...555 F.2d 712, 714 (9th Cir.1977). 3 The 30-day language is directory rather than mandatory. System Federation No. 40 v. Virginian Ry., 11 F.Supp. 621, 627 (E.D.Va.1935), aff'd 84 F.2d 641 (1936), aff'd 300 U.S. 515, 57 S.Ct. 592, 81 L.Ed. 789 (1930); Air Florida v. NMB, 534 F.Supp. 1, 11 (S......
  • Ruby v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 178
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • February 14, 1964
    ...even on the unfavorable view of American's conduct taken by the majority, outweigh the similarities. There the district court had found, 11 F.Supp. 621, 624-627 (E.D. Va.1935), and had been sustained by the Court of Appeals in finding, 84 F.2d 641, 643 (4 Cir. 1936), continued refusal by th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
20 cases
  • Virginian Ry Co v. System Federation No 40, No. 324
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 29, 1937
    ...department employees for the purpose of interfering with the Federation as the accredited representative of such employees. (D.C.) 11 F.Supp. 621. On appeal the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit approved and adopted the findings of the District Court and affirmed its decree. 8......
  • Air Transp. Ass'n of America, Inc. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., Nos. 10–5253
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • December 16, 2011
    ...union), the railroad maintained the Board's certification of the Federation was invalid. See Sys. Fed'n No. 40 v. Virginian Ry. Co., 11 F.Supp. 621, 626 n. 1 (E.D.Va.1935). The Supreme Court upheld the certification of the Federation, however, and, in so doing, interpreted section 2, Fourth......
  • In re Continental Airlines Corp., No. H-84-1747
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • May 31, 1985
    ...555 F.2d 712, 714 (9th Cir.1977). 3 The 30-day language is directory rather than mandatory. System Federation No. 40 v. Virginian Ry., 11 F.Supp. 621, 627 (E.D.Va.1935), aff'd 84 F.2d 641 (1936), aff'd 300 U.S. 515, 57 S.Ct. 592, 81 L.Ed. 789 (1930); Air Florida v. NMB, 534 F.Supp. 1, 11 (S......
  • Ruby v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 178
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • February 14, 1964
    ...even on the unfavorable view of American's conduct taken by the majority, outweigh the similarities. There the district court had found, 11 F.Supp. 621, 624-627 (E.D. Va.1935), and had been sustained by the Court of Appeals in finding, 84 F.2d 641, 643 (4 Cir. 1936), continued refusal by th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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