Locomotive Engineers v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company

PETITIONER: Locomotive Engineers
RESPONDENT: Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company
LOCATION: District Court for the District Court of Columbia

DOCKET NO.: 165
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 363 US 528 (1960)
ARGUED: Apr 20, 1960
DECIDED: Jun 20, 1960

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Locomotive Engineers v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 20, 1960 in Locomotive Engineers v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company

Earl Warren:

Number 165, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers et al., Petitioners, versus Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Inaudible) -- Mr. Heiss.

Harold C. Heiss:

Mr. Chief Justice and Members of the Court, if the Court please.

The petitioners here are four railway labor organizations in the operating group.

The respondents, plaintiffs in the District Court, are two railroad companies which sought and obtained an injunction against the strike by the operating employees of the two railroad companies.

The cause is before Your Honors on a writ of certiorari through Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit.

And review by this Court is limited to a single question which is spelled out on the second page of petitioners' brief on the merits, the blue-covered document on the bench.

The cause involves a decision of this Court rendered about three years ago, known in railroad parlance as the Chicago River case.

(Inaudible)

Harold C. Heiss:

The cause involves -- the cause involves a decision of this Court rendered about three years ago, known as the Chicago River case, wherein this Court held that an injunction may lie against railroad employees who seek to promote a strike to enforce payment of demands of some character which may be pending before the National Railroad Adjustment Board, a tribunal established under the Railway Labor Act and having the authority and power to interpret agreements made under the Act between employees and railroad companies.

In granting the strike injunction in this cause, the district judge imposed certain conditions upon the issuance of the injunction which were protective of the interest of the employees, the defendants, and protective of the interest of the public.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals sustained the strike injunction, but excised from the order of the District Court, the conditions deemed to be protective of the interest of the other litigants and the public.

(Inaudible)

Harold C. Heiss:

No, Your Honor.

The injunction was issued in only one form, on -- on December 18, but later on, to wit, on January 5, 1959, in denying a motion for a stay as by the railroad company, the district judge in that order denying the stay explained what he meant in some detail when he issued the original order to wit, that he intended that the conditions imposed upon the railroad company, protective of the interest of the employees were conditions upon the issuance of the injunction and were not a mandatory order directed against the railroad company.

(Inaudible)

Harold C. Heiss:

Yes.

I think it would be susceptible of that interpretation, Mr. Justice Harlan.

(Inaudible)

Harold C. Heiss:

Yes.

Yes, precisely so, Your Honor.

(Inaudible)

Harold C. Heiss:

I don't think it's any different, take -- except that I think this, Your Honor, that I -- I don't mean it's any different to this extent.

I think there is only a conditioning of the issuance of the injunction.

But I -- I think we might get into some other ancillary legal propositions if we were to regard this as a -- as a mandatory injunction of a preliminary nature in which event, we might get into the area of determining whether a bond should be required, for example.

Felix Frankfurter:

(Inaudible)

Harold C. Heiss:

Insofar as the practical consequences are pictured.

Felix Frankfurter:

(Inaudible)

Harold C. Heiss:

I think you're right, Your Honor, in that respect.

Charles E. Whittaker:

(Inaudible)

Harold C. Heiss:

It couldn't possibly, in this case, have involved the condition a -- a decision on the merits, Your Honor.