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Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Co. v. United Transportation Union

decided: May 15, 1984.

THE ATCHISON, TOPEKA AND SANTA FE RAILWAY COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, AND BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS, PLAINTIFF-INTERVENOR,
v.
THE UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 82 C 4246 -- J. Sam Perry, Judge.

Bauer, Coffey, and Flaum, Circuit Judges.

Author: Flaum

FLAUM, Circuit Judge.

This appeal is from a permanent injunction entered by the district court, which prohibited the United Transportation Union (UTU) from striking against the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company (Santa Fe) in support of its claim that an agreement between the Santa Fe and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) violated existing agreements between the Santa Fe and the UTU. The district court entered the permanent injunction on a motion for summary judgment. The district court found that the dispute between the Santa Fe and the UTU was a "minor" dispute under the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. ยงยง 151-163 (1976), and that therefore the threatened strike would be unlawful. This appeal raises two issues: whether the district court properly acted through summary judgment, and whether the dispute was minor. For the reasons stated below, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

I

Appellant UTU is the certified collective bargaining representative of Santa Fe firemen. Intervenor-appellee BLE is the certified collective bargaining representative of Santa Fe engineers. Typically, engine service employees begin employment as firemen. After receiving training and testing, they are promoted to engineers. Upon promotion, they retain their seniority as firemen and may exercise seniority on either firemen or engineer assignments. An employee may be a member of either the UTU or the BLE. When working as a fireman, he works under a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the UTU; when working as an engineer, he works under a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the BLE.

In 1972, the Santa Fe and the BLE entered into a collective bargaining agreement in which they agreed to negotiate concerning the eventual elimination of Chicago as a home terminal for engineers in unassigned freight pool service. The UTU did not make a similar commitment with respect to firemen.

In 1977, the Santa Fe held a joint meeting with representatives of the UTU and the BLE to discuss eliminating Chicago as a home terminal for engine crews in unassigned freight pool service. Both unions rejected the Santa Fe's joint proposal. The Santa Fe attempted to arrange a second joint meeting to be held in 1978, but neither union wanted to participate in a joint meeting. Separate negotiations were therefore held. The Santa Fe then presented substantially identical proposals to each union. The UTU responded to the proposal with a counterproposal that the Santa Fe considered unacceptable.

From 1979 through 1981, the Santa Fe continued to negotiate with the BLE. On February 3, 1981, the UTU wrote to the Santa Fe protesting attempts by the BLE to negotiate agreements. The UTU stated opposition to any attempt to establish engineers' seniority in any seniority district where those employees did not have firemen seniority. The Santa Fe did not respond.

In February 1982 the Santa Fe and the BLE reached an agreement. The agreement changed the home terminal of engineers in unassigned freight pool service. It also expanded the seniority district of Chicago terminal yard engineers. The Illinois division road engineers were given an opportunity to obtain yard seniority, and yard engineers were given an opportunity to obtain road seniority.

In April 1982 the UTU sent a letter to the Santa Fe protesting the BLE agreement. The UTU complained that the BLE agreement violated existing agreements between the UTU and the Santa Fe. The Santa Fe responded by saying that the BLE agreement did not apply to firemen and by expressing willingness to sign a similar agreement concerning firemen with the UTU. In June 1982 the UTU wrote a letter of protest.

On July 7, 1982, the UTU sent a telegram threatening to strike beginning on July 9. On July 9, representatives of the UTU and the Santa Fe conferred by telephone. On the morning of July 9, the district court, after hearing argument from both the Santa Fe and the UTU, entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting the UTU from striking until after a hearing on the Santa Fe's request for a preliminary injunction.

On July 12, the court held a hearing on the preliminary injunction. A recess was taken so that the parties could attempt to settle the dispute. No settlement was reached. On July 13, the court entered a preliminary injunction, prohibiting the UTU from striking. After the hearing, the BLE was granted leave to intervene as a plaintiff.

In January 1983, the Santa Fe moved for summary judgment, including the entry of a permanent injunction. In March 1983 the UTU responded. At that time neither party had submitted the dispute to the National Railroad Adjustment Board for arbitration. The ...


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