Machinists v. Central Airlines, Inc.

PETITIONER: Machinists
RESPONDENT: Central Airlines, Inc.
LOCATION: Beaumont Mills

DOCKET NO.: 61
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 372 US 682 (1963)
ARGUED: Feb 19, 1963 / Feb 20, 1963
DECIDED: Apr 15, 1963

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Machinists v. Central Airlines, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 20, 1963 in Machinists v. Central Airlines, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 19, 1963 in Machinists v. Central Airlines, Inc.

Earl Warren:

Number 61, International Association of Machinists, AFL-CIO, et al., petitioners, versus Central Airlines, Incorporated.

Mr. Morris.

Charles J. Morris:

May it please the Court.

Mr. Chief Justice, Honorable Members of the Court.

At issue in this case is question of whether the general jurisdiction statutes confer upon the Federal District Court’s jurisdiction to enforce a system board award of an airline system board made pursuant to the Railway Labor Act, Section 204 of that statute.

The facts may be very briefly stated, this is, in many respects, a very ordinary arbitration type case.

There were six employees who were requested to work overtime.

They, for various reasons, which were stated in the arbitration or system board record, declined to work overtime.

They were then given a letter specifically asking them to further declining to work overtime.

They were given letters of suspension by the Company advising them that they were suspended, but were to report for an interview the following Monday morning.

These events that I've just described occurred between Thursday and Saturday during the early part of April, 1958.

They then did report as requested but with a union representative.

The union representative went into the interview room and requested an opportunity to be present at this interview and was denied that opportunity.

The employees thereupon declined to present themselves if they were not permitted to have their union representative present whereupon that same day, they were given another letter advising that they were discharged.

This is the sum and substance basically of the case as presented to the arbitration board.

I use that word “arbitration board,” I would be more correct to use the term “system board” because this is the term which is used by the Railway Labor Act and by the contract which we have here.

The matter went to the system board of arbitration which was set up pursuant to a contract.

The Board consisted of two members of the Company, two members from the union.

They deadlocked and pursuant to the procedure set up under that contract, a neutral was brought in, appointed by the National Mediation Board.

The neutral sat with the Board. Further hearings were held and in due time an award was rendered.

The award was joined in by the union members, not joined in by the company members.

It constituted a majority award of the Board, finding that the company violated the contract by denying union representation and finding, based merely upon that, that the discharge was in violation of the contract, ordered the employees, reinstated and made whole as to their lost pay.

The Company declined to abide by the award.

It is paired from this record so I will mention it that various things happened rather promptly.

The company filed a case in state court to set aside the award.

The union responded by filing a motion to -- filing a removal petition to federal court, but prior to doing so, filed the instance suit for enforcement of the award in Federal District Court.

This case turns on the complaint in as much as a motion to dismiss was filed simultaneous with a motion to remand the case.

The Federal District Court, facing his decision upon the Metcalf case which had just been determined by the Fifth Circuit, granted the motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and granted the motion to remand.

The -- I might add so I guess there has been a question, nothing has happened in the state court.

State court is simply waiting on the outcome here.