Labor Law- Railway Labor Act-Union Referendum Provisions as an Indication of Failure to Bargain in Good Faith

In negotiations arising out of a “major dispute” under the Railway Labor Act, defendant’s union representatives were prohibited by a provision in the union constitution from reaching any final agreement without the proposals having first been adopted by a majority vote of the union membership. At the bargaining table, the union representatives presented no specific proposals or counter-proposals; when a management offer was made and presented to the union membership, the representatives refused either to sign it or to recommend its adoption. The management proposal was defeated at the union referendum, and a strike date was set. Plaintiff railroad sought a temporary injunction against the strike in the federal district court, contending that the union had not bargained in good faith. Held, temporary injunction granted. The actions of the union representatives, coupled with the referendum requirement of the union constitution, frustrated the intent of the RLA to facilitate the expeditious settlement of labor-management disputes. Chicago, R.I. & Pac. R.R. v. Switchmen’s Union, 187 F. Supp. 581 (W.D.N.Y. 1960).