Trainmen v. Chicago R. & I. R. Co.,
353 U.S. 30 (1957)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Trainmen v. Chicago R. & I. R. Co., 353 U.S. 30 (1957)

Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v.

Chicago River & Indiana Railroad Co.

No. 313

Argued February 26, 1957

Decided March 25, 1957

353 U.S. 30


After negotiations had failed, a railroad which had a collective bargaining agreement with a labor union of its employees submitted several "minor disputes" arising under the agreement to the National Railroad Adjustment Board created by the Railway Labor Act. The union promptly issued a strike call. The railroad sought relief from the Federal District Court, which entered a permanent injunction against the strike.

Held: a railway labor union cannot lawfully resort to a strike over such "minor disputes" pending before the National Railroad Adjustment Board; the District Court had jurisdiction to enjoin such a strike; and its judgment is sustained. Pp. 353 U. S. 31-42.

(a) Section 3, First, of the Railway Labor Act authorizes either side to submit a "minor dispute" to the National Railroad Adjustment Board, whose decision shall be final and binding on both sides, and the Section should be literally applied in the absence of a clear showing of a contrary or qualified intention of Congress. Pp. 353 U. S. 34-35.

(b) The legislative history of the provisions of the Railway Labor Act creating the National Railroad Adjustment Board shows that they were intended to provide for compulsory arbitration of such "minor disputes." Pp. 353 U. S. 35-39.

(c) The federal courts can compel compliance with the provisions of the Act to the extent of enjoining a union from striking to defeat the jurisdiction of the National Railroad Adjustment Board, and such injunctions are not barred by the Norris-LaGuardia Act. Pp. 353 U. S. 39-42.

(d) The Norris-LaGuardia Act and the Railway Labor Act must be read together so that the obvious purpose in the enactment of each is preserved. Pp. 353 U. S. 39-42.

Page 353 U. S. 31

(e) Cases in which it has been held that the Norris-LaGuardia Act's ban on federal injunctions is not lifted because the conduct of the union is unlawful under some other statute are inapposite to this case. P. 353 U. S. 42.


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