Detroit & Toledo Shore Line R. Company v. United Transportation Union

PETITIONER: Detroit & Toledo Shore Line R. Company
RESPONDENT: United Transportation Union
LOCATION: United States District Court for the District of Columbia

DOCKET NO.: 29
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1969-1970)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 396 US 142 (1969)
ARGUED: Oct 20, 1969
DECIDED: Dec 09, 1969

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Detroit & Toledo Shore Line R. Company v. United Transportation Union

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 20, 1969 in Detroit & Toledo Shore Line R. Company v. United Transportation Union

Warren E. Burger:

Shore Line against United Transportation Union.

Mr. Shea, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Francis M. Shea:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

Parties to this case are Detroit and Toledo Shore Line which I shall refer to Shore Line and UTU which is a merger of four operating Unions, I shall refer to it including the Firemen's Union.

I shall to refer to it as the Union of the Firemen's union.

This case arises under the Railway Labor Act.

As Your Honors are well aware, there are two kinds of disputes that arise under that Act.

The so-called minor disputes which involve the interpretation or application of the existing agreements and they follow the course of negotiation and if that fails, compulsory arbitration before an Adjustment Board whose decisions are final and binding on the parties.

And then there's the major dispute involving not the interpretation or application of existing agreements, but the making or changing of existing agreements and these follow a different course.

Section 6 notice proposing a change is served as negotiation, mediation and proffer of arbitration in the discretion of the President's appointment of an Emergency Board and then the parties are free to exercise self-help at the end of that route.

In this case, an Adjustment Board determined that there was nothing in existing agreements which precluded Shore Line from establishing an outlying reporting point, the point at which a fireman might be required to report for work at the end of the day away from the main terminal.

Shore Line proposed to establish such a point.

The Union served a notice proposing that the exclusive reporting point should be at the home terminal at Toledo.

And the court below held that in virtue of the mere filing of that notice to deprive Shore Line of its right under the existing agreement to establish an outlying terminal, that was accomplished and they were deprived of that right.

Now, the facts are briefly these.

Shore Line is a small railroad.

It runs about 50 miles from Toledo to Detroit.

Lang Yard is the mainline.

The yard at Toledo is the yard just south of Detroit called Dearoad and there's one other geographic point I have in mind, that's at Trenton where there's the Edison Yard, that's about 35 miles north of Toledo.

There's a growing and large industrial development at Trenton.

While outlying points have historically been established, for many years, Trenton was served by firemen who reported at the Toledo Yard and took their -- went with their engines up to Trenton, did the switching there, then went back to 35 miles and tied up at Toledo.

In 1961, this growing industrial development in the view of the railroad required that they establish an outlying point at Trenton and they served or they proposed to the Union that they would establish an outlying point at Trenton.

The Union served a Section 6 notice proposing negotiations on terms or conditions under which that outlying assignment should be established.

Negotiations were to had, mediation was had, proffer of arbitration, finally, the matter was released.

But at that time there was no strike and at a subsequent point the Union withdrew that notice and there wasn't the establishment of the reporting point of Trenton.

The alternate year for switching at Montesanto by Shore Line could pass and they said we don't to propose to establish this point at Trenton.

But in the meantime late 1962 and in again September 1963, they established an outlying point just south of Detroit and called it Dearoad and on this occasion the Union pursued the minor dispute route.

It took it to an Adjustment Board and it urged that under existing agreements, and under their existing practices Shore Line was barred from establishing this outlying reporting point at Dearoad.

The Adjustment Board decided against them.

The Adjustment Board said there's nothing in the rule of agreement which precludes the establishment at that point and I think it's not contested that under the existing agreements then Shore Line was privileged to establish that outlying point.