the units appropriate for the purpose of collective bargaining and the designation of the exclusive representative of all employees in such units, this Court is without jurisdiction to grant the relief here sought. Unquestionably, this Court does not have jurisdiction to determine those matters above referred to which have been committed to the National Labor Relations Board, but here again the plaintiff insists that it is seeking relief from an alleged breach of its contract by the defendant, and, viewed in that light, it would seem that this Court's jurisdiction is settled by Moore v. Illinois Cent. R. Co., 312 U.S. 630, 61 S. Ct. 754, 85 L. Ed. 1089.
It is not to be doubted that injunctive relief may, and in proper cases should, be granted to enforce rights arising out of the designation of an exclusive representative of all employees of units which have been determined by the National Labor Relations Board; nor is there any doubt that such injunctive relief may, and in proper cases should, be granted to enforce contractual obligations entered into by such representative. It is also well settled that the determination by the National Labor Relations Board of an exclusive representative of employees is binding upon the courts, unless in a statutory proceeding provided for that purpose, the appropriate court alters such determination. And the rule is well settled that the action of the National Labor Relations Board is to be viewed as of the time such action was taken, and ordinarily it is presumed to have continuing effect until, in the light of changed conditions, it is altered by the Board itself. Certainly no formal change in the corporate structure of an employer ought to be permitted to vitiate its relations with its employees, or lessen its obligations under the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq.
We have here, however, a situation entirely different from any dealt with in the cases wherein the principles above mentioned have been applied. At the time of the action of the National Labor Relations Board in certifying the plaintiff as the exclusive bargaining representative, and at the time the plaintiff entered into its contract with the defendant, there was not the slightest contemplation that there would be an amalgamation of the defendant with the Postal Telegraph Company. Indeed, such amalgamation was then unlawful. And, the same can be said as to the action of the National Labor Relations Board with respect to the representative of the employees of the Postal and the subsequent contract made by that representative, the intervenor. The legislation which has since enabled a consolidation shows that the Congress was much concerned with the rights of the Postal employees, as well as with these of the Western Union. By the consolidation itself, certain statutory privileges and rights were guaranteed to them, and it is not to be assumed that, by such guaranty, it was intended that they should not have equality of treatment in other respects with the employees of the other party to the consolidation. Quite to the contrary, it seems implicit, if not expressed, in the statute that all employees should have the right, after the consolidation, to participate in the choice of a representative, or representatives, who would speak and act in the interest of all employees, and not simply on behalf of those formerly employed by one party to the consolidation. The plaintiff insists that, being the exclusive representative of the units of the Western Union, all former Postal employees come into the consolidated organization, in so far as their seniority rights are concerned, as new employees on the date of the merger. The plaintiff concedes that this would, and insists that it should, subordinate all seniority rights of former Postal employees to those represented by the plaintiff on that date. The large importance of such seniority rights in the relation of the employer to the employee in accordance with both the contracts of the plaintiff and the intervenor need not here be discussed. It is admitted by all concerned. The plaintiff insists, however, that its rights, and the rights of those employees whom it represents, ought not to be adversely affected by the merger. To the extent that parity, rather than subordination, adversely affects plaintiff's contract, there can be no doubt that the statute authorizing the consolidation itself in large measure has that effect. The public policy, as reflected in that legislation, favors parity as against subordination. That parity would occasion some hardship to the employees represented by the plaintiff, but no more so than it would the employees represented by the intervenor, may well be true, but such hardship would seem incomparable to that which complete destruction of their seniority rights would visit upon the latter.
It will become necessary, after a final hearing in this cause, for the Court to construe the plaintiff's contract, and determine, in the light of the legislation and the approved consolidation pursuant thereto, whether or not the action of the defendant complained of by the plaintiff constitutes a breach of such contract, as so construed. A preliminary injunction ought not to be granted respecting the breach of a contract, unless it is clear that the action complained of would constitute such a breach; and this is particularly so where excessive hardship would be occasioned thereby. I do not consider that the action of the defendant complained of, in the circumstances here present, constitutes a clear breach of plaintiff's contract.
Furthermore, as stated by the Supreme Court in the case of Virginian R. Co. v. System Federation, etc., 300 U.S. 515, at page 552, 57 S. Ct. 592, at page 601, 81 L. Ed. 789; "Courts of equity may, and frequently do, go much farther both to give and withhold relief in furtherance of the public interest than they are accustomed to go when only private interests are involved." There can be no doubt that the public interest is here seriously involved, and, as determined by the Federal Communications Commission, weighs against the granting of injunctive relief.
My conclusion is that a preliminary injunction should not be granted, and the motion therefor will be denied.