PENNSYLVANIA R. CO. V. RYCHLIK, 352 U. S. 480 (1957)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pennsylvania R. Co. v. Rychlik, 352 U.S. 480 (1957)

Pennsylvania Railroad Co. v. Rychlik

No. 56

Argued December 10-11, 1956

Decided February 25, 1957

352 U.S. 480


Under § 2, Eleventh (a) and (c) of the Railway Labor Act, petitioners, a railroad and a union, entered into a union shop contract requiring trainmen employed by the railroad to become and remain members of the petitioner union or another union "national in scope" and "organized in accordance with" the Act. A trainman employed by the railroad was a member of the petitioner union, but he resigned from that union and joined a competing union which he believed to be "national in scope" and "organized in accordance with" the Act, but which had never qualified under § 3, First, as one of the unions eligible to elect the labor members of the National Railroad Adjustment Board. After hearings, a System Board of Adjustment established under § 3, Second, determined that the trainman's new union did not satisfy the union shop provision of the contract, and the railroad discharged him. He sued for an injunction compelling petitioner union to accept him as a member and the railroad to accept him as an employee.

Held: Section 2, Eleventh (c) makes available for alternative membership under such a contract only such unions as have already qualified as electors under § 3, First, and the trainman did not state a claim on which relief can be granted. Pp. 352 U. S. 481-497.

(a) The purpose of § 2, Eleventh (c) was to prevent compulsory dual unionism or the necessity of changing from one union to another when an employee temporarily changes crafts. Pp. 352 U. S. 489, 352 U. S. 492.

(b) The purpose was not to give employees a blanket right to join unions other than the designated bargaining representative of their craft. Pp. 352 U. S. 488, 352 U. S. 493.

(c) Nor was it the purpose to benefit rising new unions by permitting them to recruit members among employees who are represented by another union. Pp. 352 U. S. 488-489, 352 U. S. 492-493.

(d) Once a union has lawfully established itself for a period of time as the authorized bargaining representative of the employees

Page 352 U. S. 481

under a union shop contract, Congress has never deemed it to be the "right" of employees to choose between that union and a competing union. P. 352 U. S. 494.

(e) Under § 2, Eleventh (c), an employee has available to him alternative membership only in such unions as have already qualified as electors under § 3. Pp. 352 U. S. 494-496.

229 F.2d 171 reversed and remanded.

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