Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Chicago River & Indiana Railroad Company

PETITIONER: Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen
RESPONDENT: Chicago River & Indiana Railroad Company
LOCATION: Congress

DOCKET NO.: 313
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 353 US 30 (1957)
ARGUED: Feb 26, 1957
DECIDED: Mar 25, 1957

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Chicago River & Indiana Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 26, 1957 (Part 2) in Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Chicago River & Indiana Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 26, 1957 (Part 1) in Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Chicago River & Indiana Railroad Company

Earl Warren:

Number 313, Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen et al. versus Chicago River and Indiana Railroad Company et al.

Mr. Wines.

William C. Wines:

May it -- may it please the Court.

Your Honors, in light of my past and current collateral relation to the Court, I think before beginning the statement of this case I ought to say that although I'm still a regular Assistant Attorney General in charge of certain appellate work for the State of Illinois, the Attorney General of Illinois has no interest in this case.

I appear as privately retained in the course of general practice by the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, and my appearance here doesn't imply any approval by the Attorney General of Illinois.

This case, if Your Honors please, and the companion case which has become mooted by settlement and will not be argued how presented to this Court as they presented in the courts below.

First, the question whether the National Railway -- whether the Railway Labor Act of 1934 prohibits or makes unlawful strikes in the interstate commerce of the railroad business are affecting that Commerce when such strikes are over minor or past or accumulated frequencies.

The petitioner, Brotherhood, says that the Act does not have that effect.

The carriers say that it does.

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in this case held that the Railway Labor Act of 1934 does interdict strikes over minor or past grievances.

Five days later, the Fifth Circuit in the Central of Georgia case made a declaration.

It is diametrically contrary in its rationale, in its principle, and in its logic, although, there are effectual distinctions between the two cases.

A second and the only other question presented by the case at bar -- I beg Your Honors' pardon --

Felix Frankfurter:

May I ask --

William C. Wines:

-- the Central of Georgia case did not reach the question that I have just stated, but turned solely upon its answer to the second question that I am now going state.

The second question is whether assuming that the National Railway Labor Act does make strikes unlawful, even so, that even indulging that assumption does it so far repeal by implication.

The Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932, as probably two years before the -- the Railway Labor Act of 1934, has to reinvest federal courts with the jurisdiction to enjoin strikes over past grievances or minor accumulated individual grievances even though such strikes are not attended by any violence or anything of that sort.

Felix Frankfurter:

Before you proceed with your argument, may I ask you if you will state the -- is what you -- let me put it this way, is what you've stated all the litigation -- adjudication thus far on the second question that -- that your -- the --

William C. Wines:

No, Your Honor.

There is before --

Felix Frankfurter:

Would you mind telling us what the -- what the sum total of adjudications on the Norris-LaGuardia?

The -- the -- what you call reinvesting of District Courts with jurisdiction.

There are these two Courts of Appeals, what else is there?

William C. Wines:

You -- I'm speaking now only with -- of strikes over minor grievances, Your Honor.

Felix Frankfurter:

I'm speaking of strikes that do not bring the issuance of an injunction within the exceptions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act.

Namely, the question -- the second question, to what extent does the Norris-LaGuardia Act limit, assuming otherwise there is a power to enjoin strikes not within the exceptions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, to what extent does the Norris-LaGuardia Act limit, also apply to the controversies arriving under the National -- under the Railway Labor Act?

There are these two Courts of Appeals, what else is there?

William C. Wines:

There is -- you asked me for decisions on the point, either way there is pending before this Court a petition for certiorari which so far as I know has not been granted.

Now, I did not have the time to check this one because I was -- I had to check something else.

So far as I know certiorari has not been granted, but it's here before this Court in Number 702, Manion against the Kansas City Terminal Railway Company in which the Supreme Court of Missouri indicated that the National Railway Labor Act prohibits this type of strike --