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ALTON & S. RY. CO. v. BROTHERHOOD OF RY.

September 29, 1978

Alton & Southern Railway Co. et al., Plaintiffs
v.
Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees, Defendant; United States of America, Plaintiff v. Brotherhood of Railway, Airline and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees, et al. Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBINSON, JR.

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

This action is before the Court on Plaintiffs'* Motions for a Temporary Restraining Order and upon Defendant's Cross-Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order. This Court has considered the written and oral arguments of counsel, and the entire record herein, and concludes that both Plaintiffs' and Defendant's Motions for Temporary Restraining Orders must be granted.

 Defendant is currently engaged in a labor dispute with Plaintiff Norfolk & Western Railway Company ("N&W"), *fn1" involving proposed changes in the scope of the parties' bargaining agreement under the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. §§ 151, et seq. ("RLA"). On July 10, 1978, Defendant BRAC began to engage in a work stoppage against N&W, and that work stoppage has since spread to other Plaintiff railroads.

 Pursuant to 45 U.S.C. § 160, the National Mediation Board determined that the aforementioned dispute "threatens substantially to interrupt interstate commerce to a degree such as to deprive a section of the country of essential transportation services, " and reported its findings to the President. *fn2" Thereupon, the President created an Emergency Board to investigate and report respecting the dispute.

 45 U.S.C. § 160 provides in part:

 
After the creation of such board and for thirty days after such board has made its report to the President, no change, except by agreement, shall be made by the parties to the controversy in the conditions out of which the dispute arose.

 The issue involved in both Plaintiffs' and Defendant's Motions concerns the construction which should be given to this provision. Plaintiff carriers contend that the "conditions out of which the dispute arose" include the fact that no work stoppage had occurred at the time the N&W BRAC dispute arose.

 Plaintiffs' contention is correct. Detroit & Toledo Shore Line R.R. Co. v. United Transportation Union, 396 U.S. 142, 90 S. Ct. 294, 24 L. Ed. 2d 325 (1969), indicates that the "conditions" for which the status quo is to be maintained are to be "broadly conceived." The Court states: "The obligation of both parties . . . is to preserve and maintain unchanged those actual, objective working conditions and practices, broadly conceived, which were in effect prior to the time the pending dispute arose . . . Therefore strikes are prohibited during the period of inquiry by the Emergency Board and for thirty (30) days thereafter." *fn3"

 As the Shore Line case clearly indicates, All parties involved in the dispute are obligated to maintain the status quo. Plaintiff carriers cannot, and shall not, be permitted to have it both ways this Court cannot enjoin Defendant BRAC from continuing its work stoppage while permitting Plaintiffs to unilaterally vary the conditions surrounding the relationship between the parties as they existed at the time the dispute arose.

 Congress' purpose in requiring all parties to maintain the status quo during the pendency of the Board's inquiry and for thirty (30) days thereafter was to provide for a "cooling-off" period. Shore Line, supra, 396 U.S. at 152, 90 S. Ct. 294. That purpose would be frustrated if Plaintiff carriers were permitted unilaterally to vary the working conditions and practices in effect prior to the time that the pending dispute arose.

 Finally, this Court has determined that if Defendant is not restrained, Plaintiffs and the public shall be irreparably injured; if Plaintiff carriers are not restrained, the Defendant and the public shall be irreparably harmed.

 For these reasons, it is by the Court this 29th day of September, 1978,

 ORDERED, that during the pendency of this action or until further order of the Court,

 (1) That the Defendant, its officers, employees, agents, members and all persons acting in concert or participation with any of them, are hereby enjoined and restrained from resorting to self-help including strikes or lockouts during the period in which the status ...


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