Order of Railway Conductors v. Swan - 329 U.S. 520 (1947)


U.S. Supreme Court

Order of Railway Conductors v. Swan, 329 U.S. 520 (1947)

Order of Railway Conductors of America v. Swan

No. 63

Argued December 10, 11, 1946

Decided January 13, 1947*

329 U.S. 520

Syllabus

1. Members of the First and Fourth Divisions of the National Railroad Adjustment Board were evenly divided, in each division, as to whether, under the Railway Labor Act, their division has jurisdiction of disputes involving yardmasters. It was conceded that neither the Second nor the Third Division has jurisdiction of such disputes. No settlement of such disputes was possible in these circumstances.

Held: the federal courts have jurisdiction under Judicial Code § 274d of a suit by interested parties for a declaratory judgment to determine which division of the Board has jurisdiction of such disputes. Switchmen's Union v. Mediation Board, 320 U. S. 297; General Committee v. M.-K.-T. R. Co., 320 U. S. 323, and General Committee v. Southern Pacific Co., 320 U. S. 338, distinguished. P. 329 U. S. 524.

2. Under the Railway Labor Act, yardmasters are not "yard service employees" within the jurisdiction of the First Division of the National Railroad Adjustment Board. Pp. 329 U. S. 524-529.

3. Under the Railway Labor Act, disputes involving yardmasters are exclusively within the "catch-all" jurisdiction of the Fourth Division of the National Railroad Adjustment Board. P. 329 U. S. 530.

4. Whatever persuasive effect prior administrative adjudications on the jurisdictional issue may have had is destroyed by present and prolonged administrative deadlock on this issue. P. 329 U. S. 529.

5. Although amendatory bills which would have specifically excluded yardmasters from the jurisdiction of the First Division of the Adjustment Board were introduced and referred to an appropriate congressional committee, the failure of Congress to amend the statute is without significance for purposes of statutory interpretation, where the committee held no hearings and made no report. P. 329 U. S. 529.

152 F.2d 325 affirmed.

Page 329 U. S. 521

Petitioners, two national labor organizations, brought an action in the District Court under Judicial Code § 274d against members of the First and Fourth Divisions of the National Railroad Adjustment Board, seeking a declaratory judgment to the effect that the First Division has jurisdiction under the Railway Labor Act of disputes involving yardmasters. Another national labor organization and two railroad companies were allowed to intervene. The District Court held that yardmaster disputes are within the jurisdiction of the Fourth Division of the Board. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 152 F.2d 325. This Court granted certiorari. 327 U.S. 776. Affirmed, p. 329 U. S. 530.



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