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Naylor v. Harkins

Decided: October 16, 1953.


Goldmann, J.s.c.


The present case is conspicuous for its voluminous record, lengthy and involved briefs, and the large number of pleadings and papers comprising the file. To set out all the facts in any way connected with the matter would serve no purpose and would indeed be confusing.

This action arises from an intra-union dispute between the Grand International Division of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and certain members of Division 851, a unit of Brotherhood. The early phases of the present difficulty can be traced back to about 1940 when engineers, firemen and trainmen in the employ of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company ("Pennsylvania") began to file claims for an additional day's compensation for each time they operated a train on tracks owned by other railroads. Operation of Pennsylvania's trains on tracks of foreign railroads on the Delaware River waterfront, Philadelphia, was the basis of one such group of claims, and it is out of this group that the present action arose.

In 1948 Pennsylvania agreed to settle the waterfront claims by allowing the employees concerned one day's extra pay for each day they worked on foreign trackage, if the employees would forego that pay for future operations in return for Pennsylvania's establishing higher rates of pay for jobs involving the operation of trains on foreign tracks. Three unions were involved: the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, a defendant in this suit. The settlement plan was accepted by the Brotherhoods representing the firemen, enginemen and trainmen.

At a regular meeting of Division 851 held April 23, 1951 it was proposed that the settlement offer of Pennsylvania,

accepted by the other Brotherhoods, also be accepted by the Division. A resolution to that effect carried.

Plaintiff Naylor, a locomotive engineer in the employ of Pennsylvania, had for some time been local chairman of Division 851. In January 1950 he was elected chairman of the local committee of adjustment for a three-year term. In this latter capacity one of his functions was to negotiate, along with the other members of the Brotherhood's General Committee of Adjustment, with the railroad regarding wages and other conditions of employment. By its resolution of April 23, 1951, Division 851 directed Naylor to accept the settlement. After the Division had voted in favor of the resolution the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers notified Pennsylvania of this desire, and the railroad, acting through its superintendent H.L. Nancarrow, drew up the necessary papers to effectuate the settlement.

On April 28, 1951 Naylor announced that he would not approve the settlement, asserting he had authority to do so under the so-called "Philbrook Resolution" of the Brotherhood. That resolution provided that "no written agreement shall be made without the approval in writing from the Local Chairman or Local Chairmen of the seniority district or seniority districts." On May 3, 1951 Naylor instituted a suit in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey against Pennsylvania and sought thereby to enjoin the railroad from concluding the agreement with the engineers through Edward Menges, chairman of the General Committee of the Brotherhood, without first obtaining Naylor's approval. In bringing this action in the federal court Naylor maintained that he was acting under authority of Standing Rule 48(c) of the Brotherhood which reads in part as follows:

"Each and every member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers grants to the duly authorized representative and/or representatives of the Brotherhood (which includes * * * Local Chairmen * * *) full and complete authority to present and handle each and every member's claims, complaints, and grievances against the railroad on which he is employed. Said power and authority * * * shall also include the power and authority

to submit such claims, complaints, and grievances, for determination to any person, court, or board or other tribunal provided by law or otherwise as may be deemed necessary or advisable by such authorized representatives."

Subsequently, on June 26, 1952, the District Court held that Naylor's relief, if any, should be sought in the administrative tribunals set up by the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C.A. ยง 151 et seq. (Naylor v. Pennsylvania R. Co. , 106 F. Supp. 84 (D.C.N.J. 1952))

On May 12, 1951 James E. Jefferson, one of the members of Division 851 who had asserted a claim for extra pay for work on foreign tracks, formally charged Naylor with violating, among other things, section 93 of the Statutes of the Brotherhood. That section provides that any Brotherhood member who submits a controversy arising within the union, and for which the laws of the Brotherhood provide a means of settlement, to a civil court for decision without first exhausting all his remedies within the Brotherhood, shall be deemed guilty of disloyalty.

The union procedure governing the preferring of charges is set forth in section 72 of the Statutes of the Brotherhood. Among the requirements of the section is that the chief engineer of the Division to which the accused member belongs establish a committee to investigate the charges and report its findings at the next regular meeting. A committee of three members was duly appointed at a regular meeting of Division 851 held on May 14, 1951. The committee thereupon reported that Naylor had violated the Statutes of the Brotherhood by instituting suit in the federal court. At the same meeting Naylor was temporarily removed from membership and office in the Brotherhood. J. P. Shields, Grand Chief Engineer of the Brotherhood, then reviewed the proceedings of the Division action, under authority granted him by section 6(c) of the Constitution of the Brotherhood, and on May 15, 1951 set them aside on the ground that Brotherhood law had not been complied with. Shields further directed that a new trial be had and a complete record thereof kept.

Thereafter, on May 28, 1951, Jefferson once again charged Naylor with having breached Brotherhood law by the institution of the District Court action. On June 25, 1951 a duly appointed investigating committee reported that although there was insufficient evidence to support one of the charges against Naylor, there was sufficient evidence that he had violated section 93 of the Statutes. On this occasion Naylor protested his innocence and stated that he was pleading not guilty and offering evidence to support his position. He did so. A vote was then taken, the members voting 44 to 9 against accepting the report of the committee. Naylor announced his intention to continue the action he had instituted in the federal court.

On July 5, 1951 Brotherhood Grand Chief Engineer Shields, in a letter to Raymond Long, Chief Engineer of Division 851, stated that he had received from defendant Harkins, who was Assistant Grand Chief Engineer of the Brotherhood and who presided at the meeting of Division 851 on June 25, 1951, a complete report of the proceedings, and that he could not understand the vote of the members in view of the "incontrovertible evidence of Brother Naylor's guilt and their duty as members under the plain language of the law applicable in such cases." Shields reviewed the evidence and concluded that Naylor had instituted a civil action concerning a controversy within the organization, without first having exhausted his remedies within the Brotherhood, thereby violating section 93 of the Statutes. He directed that the vote of June 25 be set aside, that the Division give the matter further consideration, and that Naylor be found guilty of disloyalty and expelled from the union. Shields further stated that if his instructions were not complied with by July 23, 1951, the charter of Division 851 would be suspended and the directions contained in his letter go into effect without further ruling.

Division 851 met on July 9, 1951 and voted to reject Shields' letter of July 5. On July 23, 1951, the date set for the next regular meeting of the Division, Naylor commenced this ...

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