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U.S. Supreme Court

Locomotive Engineers v. Baltimore & O. R. Co., 372 U.S. 284 (1963)

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.

No. 730

Decided March 4, 1963

372 U.S. 284


Pursuant to § 6 of the Railway Labor Act, respondent railroads served on petitioners, unions of operating employees, notices of intended changes in agreements affecting rates of pay, rules and working conditions. After lengthy negotiations had failed to produce agreement concerning the proposed changes, the parties agreed to the creation of a Presidential Railroad Commission to investigate and report on the controversy and to use its best efforts to bring about an amicable settlement by mediation. The appointment and efforts of such a Commission having failed to produce agreement, the unions applied for the services of the National Mediation Board under § 5. Many meetings between the parties under the auspices of that Board having failed to produce agreement, and the unions having refused to submit the dispute to arbitration, the Board terminated its services. The railroads then served notice on the unions that the proposed changes would be placed in effect 30 days later. The unions sued in a Federal District Court for a judgment that the proposed rule changes would violate the Act. The District Court dismissed the complaint after finding that both parties had exhausted all procedures available under the Act and that, therefore, they were free to resort to self-help, subject only to the appointment of an Emergency Board by the President under §10. The Court of Appeals affirmed, and the unions petitioned this Court for certiorari.

Held: Certiorari is granted and the judgment is affirmed. Pp. 372 U. S. 285-291.

(a) The courts below correctly rejected the contention of the unions that the standards contained in the railroads' notices violated the Act, since the Act does not fix and does not authorize anyone to fix generally applicable standards for working conditions. Pp. 372 U. S. 289-290.

(b) The record sustains the findings of both lower courts that the parties have exhausted the procedures provided by the Act for major disputes such as that involved here, and that the parties are

Page 372 U. S. 285

relegated to self-help in adjusting this dispute, subject only to the invocation of the provisions of §10, providing for the creation of an Emergency Board. Pp. 372 U. S. 290-291.

310 F.2d 503 affirmed.

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