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Chicago and North Western Railway Co. v. United Transportation Union

March 6, 1970

CHICAGO AND NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. CHICAGO AND NORTH WESTERN RAILWAY COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, V. UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



Swygert, Chief Judge, and Fairchild and Kerner, Circuit Judges.

Author: Kerner

KERNER, C. J.:

This opinion contains our decision in two appeals. No. 18145 is the appeal of the Chicago and North Western Railway Company (Railway) from the district court's finding that § 2, First,*fn1 of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. § 152, First) requiring the parties to exert "every reasonable effort" to settle their disputes was not a requirement which anticipated judicial enforcement. Consequently, since the district court found that it did not have jurisdiction to decide whether § 2, First, was complied with, and all other procedures of the Railway Labor Act having been exhausted, the district court held that the Norris-LaGuardia Act*fn2 prohibited the enjoining of a threatened strike by the United Transportation Union (Union). The district court, however, granted an injunction against the threatened Union strike pending an appeal of its decision of the justicability of § 2, First, and the correctness of the court's order granting the injunction pending appeal is the subject of the second appeal, No. 18109, in which the Union is the appellant. We affirm the decision of the district court in both appeals.

The factual basis of the two appeals arose out of a dispute between the United Transportation Union and the Chicago North Western Railway Company over the question of how many brakemen should be employed on the Railway's trains. Such a dispute is commonly known as a crew consist controversy. The dispute was initiated in July of 1965 by service by the Union upon the Railway of notices pursuant to § 6 of the Railway Labor Act (Act) (45 U.S.C. § 156)*fn3 requesting a change in agreements to require that not less than two brakemen be employed on every freight and yard crew. In response, the Railway in December of 1965 served notices requesting an agreement that the existing rules respecting minimum crews be rescinded and the matter of crew size be committed to the judgment of management.*fn4

By November of 1969, the parties had held conferences pursuant to § 6 (45 U.S.C. § 156);*fn5 the National Mediation Board had mediated the dispute after invocation of mediation pursuant to § 5 (45 U.S.C. § 155);*fn6 the Board, pursuant to § 5, had concluded that its efforts had been unsuccessful and had proffered arbitration; the Railway had accepted that proffer but the Union declined; the Board thereupon, on October 16, 1969 had terminated its services pursuant to § 5. The President had not appointed an Emergency Board under § 10 (45 U.S.C. § 106),*fn7 and the § 5 thirty day "cooling off" period respecting maintenance of the status quo had expired.

At the end of November, the Railway instituted a lawsuit in the district court asking the court to declare that the procedures of the Railway Labor Act had not been exhausted and to enjoin the Union from exercising self-help in the form of strike. The Railway alleged that the Union had not discharged all its obligations under the Railway Labor Act in that it had not complied with § 2, First, which imposes upon the parties the "duty to exert every reasonable effort" to settle their disputes. At the same time the Railway filed its complaint it moved for a temporary restraining order which the court granted.

The Railway then presented evidence to show that the Union had violated § 2, First, by not bargaining in good faith. At the conclusion of the Railway's case, the court granted defendant Union's motion to dismiss the complaint and dissolved the temporary restraining order on the basis that:

§ 2, First, . . . is a matter for administrative determination and has been determined by the National Mediation Board under the provisions of Sections 5 and 6 of the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. 155, 156, is not justiciable and this Court does not have jurisdiction to consider or adjudicate disputes with respect to compliance with such subsection, particularly after the National Mediation Board has relinquished its mediatory jurisdiction of a dispute as in this case.

The district court, however, recognizing that there was case law contrary to its decision, that a strike would result in a mooting of the appeal, and that "such a strike would irreparably injure the plaintiff and the public," granted plaintiff Railway's motion for an injunction pending appeal.

Three days after the district court's decision, the Union filed an emergency motion in this court to vacate the injunction pending appeal. This court issued an order directing that the Union's motion to vacate the injunction pending appeal be taken with the Railway's appeal from the district court's denial of an injunction below. The order also directed that the appeals be expedited. (See Chicago and North Western Railway Company v. United Transportation Union, No. 18109 unpublished order, 7th Cir. Dec. 19, 1969.)

By ordering that the Union's motion to vacate the injunction pending appeal be taken with the expedited appeal from the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction, we in effect upheld the granting of the injunction pending appeal. Our order of December 19, 1969, in that respect is inconsistent with this court's decision in Elgin J. & E. Ry. Co. v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, 302 F.2d 545 (7th Cir. 1962), which held that if the Norris-LaGuardia Act prohibits the granting of an injunction below it also prohibits the granting of an injunction pending appeal. We are no longer of the opinion that the Elgin case is the correct interpretation of the Norris-LaGuardia Act as it applies to injunctions pending appeal and overrule our decision in Elgin. While it may be argued that our decision upholding the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction because of the non-justiciability of § 2, First, (see slip op. pp. 10-16 infra) moots the question of whether the district court erred in granting an injunction pending appeal, the necessity of an explanation of our inconsistent action in our December 19, 1969, order maintaining the injunction pending an expedited appeal and the realization that the continued adherence to an incorrect opinion could cause irreparable harm for many years before the case comes before this court in a technically correct posture, persuades us that the question is not moot but should at this time be decided.

We hold that the Norris-LaGuardia Act does not prohibit the district court from granting an injunction pending appeal even though the court determines that Norris-LaGuardia prohibits an injunction below. The power of a district court to grant an injunction to maintain the status quo pending appeal was first codified by the "All Writs Act" contained in the Judiciary Act of 1789, 28 U.S.C. § 1651. In Scripps-Howard Radio, Inc. v. F.C.C., 316 U.S. 4, 86 L. Ed. 1229, 62 S. Ct. 875 (1942), the Supreme Court in upholding this power stated:

It has always been held, therefore, that, as a part of its traditional equipment for the administration of justice, a federal court can stay the enforcement of a judgment pending the outcome of an appeal.

Id. at 9-10.

See also Hovey v. McDonald, 109 U.S. 150, 27 L. Ed. 888, 3 S. Ct. 136 (1883). Absent the prohibitions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, the law is established that even if a district court determines it lacks jurisdiction to grant an injunction pending appeal, it has the power to preserve appellate review of its determination that it lacked jurisdiction. See United States v. Shipp, 203 U.S. 563, 573, 51 L. Ed. 319, 27 S. Ct. 165 (1906); see also Pettway v. American Cast Iron Pipe Co., 411 F.2d 998, 1002-3 (5th Cir. 1969); Eastern Greyhound Lines v. Fusco, 310 F.2d 632, 634 (6th Cir. 1962).

In the instant case as in this court's earlier opinion in the Elgin case, the injunction pending appeal was issued pursuant to Rule 62(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.*fn8 The Rule itself is not a jurisdictional grant but merely a codification of a district court's power to maintain the status quo pending appeal. In Elgin, the court relied on Rule 82 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure*fn9 which provides that the promulgation of the Federal Rules does not expand the district court's jurisdiction, and Rule 65(e)*fn10 which provides that the Federal Rules "do not modify any statute of the United States relating to temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in actions affecting employer and employee." The Elgin court construed Rules 82 and 65(e) as denying the power of the district court to grant an injunction pending appeal pursuant to 62(c) in cases where the Norris-LaGuardia Act prohibited the granting of an injunction in the district court. The Elgin court's application of the three Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is correct only if we begin with the premise that Congress by enacting the Norris-LaGuardia Act intended to ...


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