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INTERNATIONAL ASSN. OF MACHINISTS v. NATIONAL RY.

March 2, 1970

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers et al., Plaintiffs
v.
National Railway Labor Conference et al., Defendants. Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks, Intervenor-Plaintiff. Alton & Southern Railway Company et al., Plaintiffs v. International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers et al., Defendants. Congress of Railway Union et al., Plaintiffs v. National Railway Labor Conference et al., Defendants


Corcoran, J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: CORCORAN

I.

 These three actions, consolidated for the purposes of oral argument, arise out of a labor dispute between the nation's Class I railroad carriers and four shopcraft unions, viz. International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (hereinafter collectively referred to as the shopcraft unions).

 In Civil Action No. 298-70 the shopcraft unions seek a preliminary injunction against a nationwide lockout threatened by the railroads in the event the shopcraft unions strike individual carriers. The Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks (BRAC) has intervened on the side of the shopcraft unions.

 In Civil Action 299-70 the railroads seek a preliminary injunction against any strike by the shopcraft unions against any individual carrier.

 In Civil Action No. 358-70, the Congress of Railway Unions (CRU) and its five member unions, representing over 400,000 employees, seek a preliminary injunction against a lockout by the railroads.

 II.

 At the outset it is necessary to place the case in its historical context.

 There are 128 Class I railroads operating in the United States. The total unionized work force exceeds 500,000 employees. The four shopcraft unions represent approximately 45,000 workers, and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, whose activities precipitated this dispute, has approximately 6,000 members.

 On November 8, 1968 each of the shopcraft unions, pursuant to Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. § 156), served upon each of the 128 Class I railroads identical notices proposing changes in general wage rates and other wage adjustments for those employees represented by the unions. The notices stated inter alia that if the representatives of the individual carrier on which the notice was served and the representatives of the labor organization involved were unable to reach agreement on the proposals, then the shopcraft unions proposed that the matters be handled on a joint national basis. The notices also stated that the four shopcraft unions had formed an Employees' Conference Committee and requested, if individual agreements could not be reached, that each carrier join and form a Carriers' Conference Committee which would negotiate on a national level in accordance with the Railway Labor Act. *fn1"

 On November 26, 1968 each of the carriers served on the union organizations identical counterproposals which proposed substantial changes in various work rules to be handled concurrently with the unions' proposals.

 Initial conferences with each carrier on an individual basis failed to produce agreement. So, in accordance with the shopcraft unions' request included in their Section 6 notices, national bargaining began on March 17, 1969 between the Employees' Conference Committee and the National Railway Labor Conference, which was assisted by regional Carriers' Conference Committees).

 As these negotiations also failed to produce agreement, the parties jointly, on April 10, 1969, applied for the services of the National Mediation Board pursuant to Section 5 First of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. § 155 First). Mediation likewise failed to produce an agreement.

 On August 19, 1969 the Mediation Board, pursuant to Sections 7 and 8 of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. §§ 157, 158), requested the parties to submit the dispute to voluntary arbitration. The carriers accepted the proffer of arbitration but the shopcraft unions declined; and on September 3, 1969 the Mediation Board relinquished jurisdiction of the dispute.

 The shopcraft unions then served notice of their intention to strike seven of the Class I railroads involved in the dispute. The carriers countered by announcing that if any individual railroad were struck, the carriers would shut down all operations and lock out all employees.

 The next step was a notification by the National Mediation Board to the President of the United States, pursuant to Section 10 of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. § 160). The Board reported that in its judgment the strike by the shopcraft unions threatened to interrupt interstate commerce to such a degree as to deprive a section of the country of essential transportation services. The President then, on October 3, 1969, created Emergency Board No. 176 to investigate promptly the facts of the dispute and report to him within 30 days.

 The Emergency Board made recommendations which the shopcraft unions refused to accept. The Board reported its failure to resolve the dispute to the President on November 2, 1969. The procedures of the Railway Labor Act for solving major disputes were accordingly exhausted.

 The shopcraft unions and the carriers nevertheless continued national bargaining under the auspices of the Secretary of Labor; and finally on December 4, 1969 the parties' representatives initialed a "Memorandum of Understanding" setting forth the terms of the agreement, subject only to ratification by the members of each of the shopcraft unions. The Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the Electrical Workers, and the Brotherhood of Boilermakers all ratified. The Sheet Metal Workers, however, balked at accepting a work rule permitting members of one shopcraft union to perform incidental work in another craft and refused to ratify. The agreement accordingly failed, since the unions had agreed among themselves that none would accept unless all accepted. *fn2"

 At 12:01 a.m. on January 31, 1970 the shopcraft unions struck the Union Pacific Railroad. The carriers thereupon announced a nationwide cessation of operations to commence at 10:00 p.m. January 31, 1970. Both sides sought temporary restraining orders - the unions against a lockout, the carriers against the strike - and at 4:00 p.m. January 31, 1970 the Court (Sirica, J.) granted both requested temporary restraining orders, thus freezing the situation.

 Negotiations continued and, to provide necessary time to reach agreement, the temporary restraining orders were extended by consent of both parties until February 20, 1970. On that date this Court heard oral argument on motions for preliminary injunctions and continued the temporary restraining orders ...


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