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Railway Employees' Dep't v. Hanson

Supreme Court of the United States

May 2, 1956, Argued ; May 21, 1956, Decided

No. 451


 [*227]   [**715]   [***1128]  MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

 [**716]  This is a suit brought in the Nebraska courts by employees of the Union Pacific Railroad Co. against that company and labor organizations representing various groups of employees of the railroad to enjoin the application and enforcement of a union shop agreement entered into between the railroad company and the labor organizations. Plaintiffs are not members of any of the defendant labor organizations and desire not to join. Under the terms of the union shop agreement all employees of the railroad, as a condition of their continued employment, must become members of the specified union within 60 days and thereafter maintain that membership. It is alleged that failure on their part to join the union will mean the loss of their employment together with seniority, retirement, pension, and other rights.

 [*228]  The employees claim that the union shop agreement violates the "right to work" provision of the Nebraska Constitution (Art. XV, § 13), which provides: 1

] "No person shall be denied [****6]  employment because of membership in or affiliation with, or resignation or expulsion from a labor organization or because of refusal to join or affiliate with a labor organization; nor shall any individual or corporation or association of any kind enter into any contract, written or oral, to exclude persons from employment because of membership in or nonmembership in a labor organization."

 [****7]  They ask for an injunction restraining the railroad company from enforcing and applying the union shop agreement.

The answers deny that the Nebraska Constitution and laws control and allege that the union shop agreement is authorized by § 2, Eleventh of the Railway Labor Act, as amended, 64 Stat. 1238, 45 U. S. C. § 152, Eleventh, which provides that, notwithstanding the law of "any State," a carrier and a labor organization may make an agreement requiring all employees within a stated time to become members of the labor organization, provided there is no discrimination against any employee and provided  [*229]  that membership is not denied nor terminated "for any  [***1129]  reason other than the failure of the employee to tender the periodic dues, initiation fees, and assessments (not including fines and penalties) uniformly required as a condition of acquiring or retaining membership." 2

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351 U.S. 225 *; 76 S. Ct. 714 **; 100 L. Ed. 1112 ***; 1956 U.S. LEXIS 1715 ****; 30 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P69,961; 38 L.R.R.M. 2099



Disposition:  160 Neb. 669, 71 N. W. 2d 526, reversed.


railroads, shop, Railway, membership, bargaining, interstate

Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Labor Arbitration, Discipline, Layoffs & Terminations, Protected Activities, Employment Relationships, At Will Employment, General Overview, Transportation Law, Rail Transportation, Safety Appliance Act, Couplers, Right to Organize, Duty of Fair Representation, Constitutional Law, Supremacy Clause, Governments, Police Powers, Congressional Duties & Powers, Commerce Clause, Separation of Powers, Federal Government, US Congress, Substantive Due Process, Scope, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Freedoms, Interstate Commerce, Federal Powers, Enforcement of Bargaining Agreements