ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT.
Warren, Black, Douglas, Clark, Harlan, Brennan, Stewart, White; Goldberg took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
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.
On November 2 of that year, pursuant to § 6 of the Railway Labor Act,*fn1 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 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 authorized "to use its best efforts, by mediation, to bring about an amicable settlement . . . ."*fn2 The parties agreed that the proceedings
of the Commission were to be accepted ". . . as in lieu of the mediation and emergency board procedures provided by Section[s] 5 and 10 of the Railway Labor Act." The Commission was created by Executive Order 10891 in November of 1960, and its members were appointed in December of that year.
The report and recommendations of the Commission were delivered to the President on February 28, 1962, and national conferences on the issues which remained in dispute resumed on April 2 and continued through May 17. No agreement having been reached, the Organizations on May 21 made application for the mediation services of the National Mediation Board pursuant to § 5 of the Railway Labor Act.*fn3 Between May 25 and June 22, approximately 32 meetings were held by the Organizations
and the Carriers under the auspices of the Chairman of that Board, but no agreement was reached. The Organizations having refused to submit the dispute to arbitration, the National Mediation Board on July 16 terminated its services under the provisions of the Railway Labor Act.
On the following day, the Carriers served notice on the Organizations that, as of August 16, 1962, changes in rules, rates of pay, and working conditions would be placed in effect by the Carriers. On July 26, the Organizations brought the present suit seeking a judgment that the proposed rule changes would violate the Railway Labor Act. Subsequently, the Carriers, with leave of court and without objection from the Organizations, withdrew their July 17, 1962, notices, and substituted therefor the notices which had been served on November ...