Slocum v. Delaware, Lackawanna & Western R. Co.Annotate this Case
339 U.S. 239 (1950)
U.S. Supreme Court
Slocum v. Delaware, Lackawanna & Western R. Co., 339 U.S. 239 (1950)
Slocum v. Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Co.
Argued February 8, 1950
Decided April 10, 1950
339 U.S. 239
1. A railroad had separate collective bargaining agreements with two labor unions. A dispute arose between the two unions concerning the scope of their respective agreements, each claiming for its members certain jobs with the railroad. The claims were pursued in "the usual manner" under § 3 First(i) of the Railway Labor Act, without reaching an adjustment. Instead of invoking the jurisdiction of the Adjustment Board, the railroad filed a declaratory judgment action in a state court, naming both unions as defendants. After a trial, the state court interpreted the agreements and entered a declaratory judgment.
Held: Under § 3 of the Railway Labor Act, the jurisdiction of the Adjustment Board to adjust grievances and disputes of the type here involved is exclusive, and the state court erred in interpreting the agreements and entering a declaratory judgment. Pp. 339 U. S. 240-245.
2. The rationale of Order of Conductors v. Pitney,326 U. S. 561, holding that federal courts should not interpret a carrier-union collective agreement prior to an interpretation of such agreement by the Adjustment Board, equally supports a denial of power to a state court to invade the jurisdiction conferred on the Adjustment Board by the Railway Labor Act. Moore v. Illinois Central R. Co.,312 U. S. 630, distinguished. Pp. 339 U. S. 243-245.
299 N.Y. 496, 87 N.E.2d 532, reversed.
A railroad brought a declaratory judgment action in a New York state court, naming as defendants two labor unions with which it had separate collective bargaining agreements. The state court interpreted the agreements and entered a declaratory judgment, which was affirmed by the Appellate Division, 274 App.Div. 950, 83 N.Y.S.2d 513, and the Court of Appeals, 299 N.Y. 496, 87 N.E.2d 532. This Court granted certiorari. 338 U.S. 890. Reversed and remanded, p. 339 U. S. 245.