The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bauer, District Judge.
This cause comes on the defendant unions' motion to dismiss the
complaint or in the alternative for summary judgment on their
behalf and on the defendant Pullman Company's motion to dismiss.
This is an action based on the alleged wrongful discharge of
employees by a carrier and the failure of labor unions to
adequately represent their members in violation of the Railway
Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.
The following background facts are important to the proper
disposition of the instant motions.
Until the end of 1968, Pullman performed sleeping and parlor
car services under a so-called Uniform Services Contract approved
by the Interstate Commerce Commission for most of the passenger
carrying railroads of the country utilizing in such services
Pullman owned passenger cars. The maintenance and repair of this
Pullman equipment was performed by Pullman shop craft employees
at various locations throughout the nation, including St. Louis,
The Transportation Act of 1958 authorized the Interstate
Commerce Commission to permit discontinuances of passenger train
operations by interstate rail carriers. After passage of this Act
it became evident that the number of passenger trains whose
operations were being, and would be, discontinued, would
substantially reduce the need for a number of Pullman employees
engaged in the performance of work in various crafts and classes
generally established within the railroad industry, including
shop craft employees. During this same period a number of the
railroads were withdrawing from their contracts with Pullman, and
performing their own sleeping car services.
"Major" disputes go first to mediation; then, if that fails, to
acceptance or rejection of arbitration; and finally to possible
presidential intervention. If all this fails, compulsory
processes are at an end and either party may resort to self-help.
See Brotherhood of Trainmen v. Toledo P & W Ry. Co., 321 U.S. 50,
64 S.Ct. 413, 88 L.Ed. 534 (1944); Butte, Anaconda & P. Ry. Co.
v. Brotherhood of L.F. & E., 268 F.2d 54 (9th Cir. 1959).
There is no jurisdiction in the Federal District Courts to
entertain an action for common law damages for an alleged breach
of such a contract or for a collateral attack upon the validity
of any decision reached thereon by a properly authorized
arbitration board. Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Price,
360 U.S. 601, 79 S.Ct. 1351, 3 L.Ed.2d 1460 (1959); Edwards v. St.
Louis-San Francisco R. Co., 361 F.2d 946 (7th Cir. 1966); Diamond
v. Terminal Ry. Ala. State Docks, supra.
It is clear from the pleadings that the plaintiffs have failed
to exhaust or even initiate their contractual remedies to
determine the validity of their right to receive separation
allowances and have not alleged any reason for their failure to
The fact that the plaintiffs characterize their claim as one
for "wrongful discharge" does not save it from the Railway Labor
Act's mandatory provision for the processing of grievances. See
Andrews v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company, 406 U.S. 320,
92 S. Ct. 1562, 32 L.Ed.2d 95 (1972). Thus the complaint should
be dismissed based on the plaintiffs failure to adequately state
a cause of action and by their failure to initiate or exhaust
their contractual remedies.
The defendant unions have submitted affidavits to the effect
that their respective constitutions provide for a complete and
orderly procedure for the resolution and disposition of any
charge brought by a member who believes he has been aggrieved by
any act or omission on the part of his union, any of its officers
or other members. The affidavits further state that each
plaintiff as a member of his Brotherhood is required as a
condition of his membership to comply with the provision of his
constitution and that none of the plaintiffs filed a claim or
grievance with his Brotherhood as to any action or omission on
the part of his Brotherhood, its officers or members.
Plaintiffs do not allege that they have resorted to and
exhausted their available internal union remedies, and they do
not state any reason for having failed to do so. Although the
plaintiffs allege that their interests were not properly handled
by their unions, plaintiffs do not contend that they at any time
complained to their unions of any act or omission of a duty by
any officer or other member of the unions with respect to
representation of the interests of plaintiffs. Plaintiffs, as
members of the defendant unions, are bound by the provisions of
their constitutions, and are now barred from the institution of
legal action against the defendant unions without exhaustion of
their internal union remedies. IAM v. Gonzales, 356 U.S. 617, 78
S.Ct. 923, 2 L.Ed.2d 1018 (1958).
The Federal Courts have uniformly held that they do not have
the right to interfere with the internal management of a union or
to entertain an action seeking redress of any alleged wrong by a
union against a member thereof in the absence of a showing that
the alleged aggrieved member has first exhausted available union
remedies, or at least sought to do so. Tunstall v. Brotherhood of
Locomotive Engineers, 323 U.S. 210, 65 S.Ct. 235, 89 L.Ed. 187
(1944); Neal v. System Board of Adjustment, 348 F.2d 722 (8th
Cir. 1965); Fingar v. Seaboard Airline Railroad Co., 277 F.2d 698
(5th Cir. 1960); Jackson v. Chrysler, 78 L.R.R.M. 2745 (S.D.Ind.
1971); Smith v. CPC Int'l., 72 L.R.R.M. 2846 (N.D.Ill. 1960).
A railway employee who feels that he has been unjustly
discharged may use various administrative remedies provided by
collective bargaining agreements subject to this chapter and his
right of review before the National Railroad Adjustment Board; or
he may sue the employer for damages without exhausting his
contract and administrative remedies if action is brought in
state court which would allow such action without prior
exhaustion provided that he accept his discharge as final.
Belanger v. New York Central Railroad Co., 384 F.2d 35 (6th Cir.
1967). The term "exhaustion of administrative remedies" in its
broader sense may be an entirely appropriate description of the
obligation of both the employee, the union and the carrier under
the Railway Labor Act to resort to dispute settlement procedures
provided by that Act. See Andrew v. Louisville & Nashville
Railroad Company, supra.
Thus the instant complaint should be dismissed because this
Court presently lacks jurisdiction over the instant controversy
since the plaintiffs have failed to exhaust or even initiate
their contractual and administrative remedies and have not
alleged any reason for their failure to so act.
Accordingly it is hereby ordered that the defendant unions' and
Pullman's motion to dismiss is granted.