MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
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.
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
The union shop provision of the Railway Labor Act is only permissive. Congress has not compelled nor required carriers and employees to enter into union shop agreements. The Supreme Court of Nebraska nevertheless took the view that justiciable questions under the First and Fifth Amendments were presented since Congress, by the union shop provision of the Railway Labor
As already noted, the 1951 amendment, permitting the negotiation of union shop agreements, expressly allows those agreements notwithstanding any law "of any State." § 2, Eleventh.
In the absence of conflicting federal legislation, there can be no doubt that it is within the police power of a State to prohibit the union or the closed shop. We so held in Lincoln Union v. Northwestern Co., 335 U.S. 525, and in American Federation of Labor v. American Sash Co., 335 U.S. 538, against the challenge that local "right to work" laws, including Nebraska's, violated the requirements of due process. But the power of Congress to regulate labor relations in interstate industries is likewise well-established. Congress has authority to adopt all appropriate measures to "facilitate the amicable settlement of disputes which threaten the service of the necessary agencies of interstate transportation." Texas & N. O. R. Co. v. Railway Clerks, 281 U.S. 548, 570. These measures include provisions that will encourage the settlement of disputes "by inducing collective bargaining with the true representative of the employees and by preventing such bargaining with any who do not represent them" (Virginian R. Co. v. Federation, 300 U.S. 515, 548), and that will protect the employees against discrimination or coercion which would interfere with the free exercise of their right to self-organization and representation. Labor Board v. Jones & Laughlin, 301 U.S. 1, 33. Industrial peace along the arteries of commerce is a legitimate objective; and Congress has great latitude in choosing the methods by which it is to be obtained.
The choice by the Congress of the union shop as a stabilizing force seems to us to be an allowable one. Much might be said pro and con if the policy issue were before us. Powerful arguments have been made here that the long-run interests of labor would be better served by the development of democratic traditions in trade unionism without the coercive element of the union or the closed shop. Mr. Justice Brandeis, who had wide experience in labor-management relations prior to his appointment to
It is said that the right to work, which the Court has frequently included in the concept of "liberty" within the meaning of the Due Process Clauses (see Truax v. Raich, 239 U.S. 33; Takahashi v. Fish & Game Commission, 334 U.S. 410), may not be denied by the Congress. The question remains, however, whether the long-range interests of workers would be better served by one type of
MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, concurring.
The provision of law now challenged is the latest exercise by Congress of its power under the Commerce Clause to promote peaceful industrial relations in the
The course of legislation affecting industrial controversies on railroads flows through these statutes: the Act of October 1, 1888, 25 Stat. 501; the Erdman Act of June 1, 1898, 30 Stat. 424, growing out of the Pullman strike of 1894, see In re Debs, 158 U.S. 564; the Newlands Act of July 15, 1913, 38 Stat. 103; the Adamson Law of September 3, 1916, 39 Stat. 721; Title III of the Transportation Act of 1920, 41 Stat. 456, 469; the Railway Labor Act of May 20, 1926, 44 Stat. 577; the Act of June 21, 1934, 48 Stat. 1185, amending the Railway Labor Act.
Nearly fifty years ago, the railroads successfully attacked the constitutionality of a vital feature of the Act of June 1, 1898, whereby Congress made it a criminal offense to bar employment in interstate railroads merely because of labor union membership. Adair v. United States, 208 U.S. 161 (1908). It is fair to say that this decision marks the nadir of denial to Congress of the power to regulate the conditions for assuring the Nation's dependence on the peaceful and effective operation of its railroads. The criticisms that the case aroused, see, e. g., Richard Olney, Discrimination Against Union Labor— Legal?, 42 Amer. L. Rev. 161 (1908), and Roscoe Pound, Liberty of Contract, 18 Yale L. J. 454 (1909), were reflected in later decisions of the Court. Neither the Commerce Clause nor the Due Process Clause was thereafter conceived, at least so far as they restrain railroad labor
The change in the Court's understanding of industrial problems, certainly as they affect railroads, in their bearing upon the country's commerce and all that thereby hangs, to no small degree reflected the changed attitude of the railroads towards the role of railroad labor unions in the discharge of the functions of railroads. As striking evidence as any of this important shift in opinion is the fact that the Railway Labor Act of 1926 came on the statute books through agreement between the railroads and the railroad unions on the need for such legislation. It is accurate to say that the railroads and the railroad unions between them wrote the Railway Labor Act of 1926 and Congress formally enacted their agreement. I doubt whether there is another instance in the history of important legislation in which acknowledgment was so candidly made by a President of the United States that agreement reached between industrial disputants regarding legislation appropriate for securing their peaceful relations should become law. "I am informed," the President reported to Congress in his annual message of December 8, 1925, "that the railroad managers and their employees have reached a substantial agreement as to what legislation is necessary to regulate and improve their relationship. Whenever they bring forward
We have come full circle from the point of view in the Adair case. There the railroads, to repeat, successfully resisted an Act of Congress which outlawed what colloquially became known as the "yellow-dog contract." We are now asked to declare it beyond the power of Congress to authorize railroads to enter into voluntary agreements with the unions to which the overwhelming proportion of railway employees belong whereby all their workers are required to belong to such unions, provided, of course, that the unions be open unions, i. e., that membership in the unions be available on ordinary, appropriate terms. It seems to me that the constitutional objections to this legislation were conclusively and compendiously answered by Mr. Justice Holmes in his dissent in Adair v. United States, supra:
The Court has put to one side situations not now before us for which the protection of the First Amendment was earnestly urged at the bar. I, too, leave them to one side.
"Labor organizations; no denial of employment; closed shop not permitted. To make operative the provisions of Sections 13, 14 and 15 of Article 15 of the Constitution of Nebraska, no person shall be denied 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."
"Eleventh. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act, or of any other statute or law of the United States, or Territory thereof, or of any State, any carrier or carriers as defined in this Act and a labor organization or labor organizations duly designated and authorized to represent employees in accordance with the requirements of this Act shall be permitted—
"(a) to make agreements, requiring, as a condition of continued employment, that within sixty days following the beginning of such employment, or the effective date of such agreements, whichever is the later, all employees shall become members of the labor organization representing their craft or class: Provided, That no such agreement shall require such condition of employment with respect to employees to whom membership is not available upon the same terms and conditions as are generally applicable to any other member or with respect to employees to whom membership was denied or terminated for any 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.
"(b) to make agreements providing for the deduction by such carrier or carriers from the wages of its or their employees in a craft or class and payment to the labor organization representing the craft or class of such employees, of any periodic dues, initiation fees, and assessments (not including fines and penalties) uniformly required as a condition of acquiring or retaining membership: Provided, That no such agreement shall be effective with respect to any individual employee until he shall have furnished the employer with a written assignment to the labor organization of such membership dues, initiation fees, and assessments, which shall be revocable in writing after the expiration of one year or upon the termination date of the applicable collective agreement, whichever occurs sooner.
"(c) The requirement of membership in a labor organization in an agreement made pursuant to subparagraph (a) shall be satisfied, as to both a present or future employee in engine, train, yard, or hostling service, that is, an employee engaged in any of the services or capacities covered in section 3, First (h) of this Act defining the jurisdictional scope of the First Division of the National Railroad Adjustment Board, if said employee shall hold or acquire membership in any one of the labor organizations, national in scope, organized in accordance with this Act and admitting to membership employees of a craft or class in any of said services; and no agreement made pursuant to subparagraph (b) shall provide for deductions from his wages for periodic dues, initiation fees, or assessments payable to any labor organization other than that in which he holds membership: Provided, however, That as to an employee in any of said services on a particular carrier at the effective date of any such agreement on a carrier, who is not a member of any one of the labor organizations, national in scope, organized in accordance with this Act and admitting to membership employees of a craft or class in any of said services, such employee, as a condition of continuing his employment, may be required to become a member of the organization representing the craft in which he is employed on the effective date of the first agreement applicable to him: Provided, further, That nothing herein or in any such agreement or agreements shall prevent an employee from changing membership from one organization to another organization admitting to membership employees of a craft or class in any of said services.
"(d) Any provisions in paragraphs Fourth and Fifth of section 2 of this Act, in conflict herewith are to the extent of such conflict amended."
In 1954 the Bureau of Labor Statistics made an analysis of 1,716 collective-bargaining agreements in effect in industries not regulated by the Railway Labor Act. Of the 7,405,000 workers covered by the agreements studied, 64% were employed under union shop provisions. 78 Monthly Labor Review, No. 6, 649.
". . . But the American people should not, and will not, accept unionism if it involves the closed shop. They will not consent to the exchange of the tyranny of the employer for the tyranny of the employee. Unionism therefore cannot make a great advance until it abandons the closed shop; and it cannot accept the open shop as an alternative. The open shop means the destruction of the union.
"The advance of unionism demands therefore some relation between the employer and the employee other than either the closed or open shop, and I feel confident that we have found a solution in the preferential union shop."
A. Some disqualify persons from membership for their political views and associations. Art. XIII, § 4, of the Constitution of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes bars from membership anyone who is a member of the Communist Party. Another constitution renders ineligible for membership any person who is "a member of the Communist Party or of any other subversive group, or who subscribes to the doctrines of any such groups." Subordinate Lodge Constitution of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers of America, Art. VI, § 1. And see Subordinate Lodge Constitution of the Brotherhood Railway Carmen of America, § 6 (a). Art. 16, § 1 (a), of the Constitution of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association provides: "No member of the communist party or any person who advocates the objectives thereof, and no person who belongs to or supports the policies of any other organization or group which advocates the overthrow of the United States government or the government of the Dominion of Canada by force shall be eligible" for membership.
The constitution of one of appellant unions provides that no person shall be eligible for union office "if such person associates himself with Communist, Fascist or similar organizations, or the Ku Klux Klan, or Columbians. Such eligibility shall likewise be denied where a person associates himself with, lends support or subscribes to the subversive doctrines of the organizations enumerated herein, similar organizations, or any organization or group that expounds or promotes any doctrine or philosophy inimical or subversive to the fundamental purposes of the constitution of the Government of the United States." Constitution of the Hotel & Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union, Art. XI, § 18. The Constitution of the International Association of Machinists, Art. I, § 5, provides: "A member who advocates or encourages communism, fascism, nazism, or any other totalitarian philosophy, or who, by other actions, gives support to these `philosophies' or `isms' is not eligible to hold office in the I. A. M."
B. The Grand Lodge Constitution of the Brotherhood Railway Carmen of America prohibits members from "interfering with legislative matters affecting national, state, territorial, dominion or provincial legislation, adversely affecting the interests of our members." § 64.
The Constitution of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, another of the appellant unions, forbids any member from "creating or attempting to create dissatisfaction or dissension among any of the members or among L. U.'s [Local Unions] of the I. B. E. W." Art. XXVII, § 2 (8). The same article and section further prohibits any member from
"(15) Attending or participating in any gathering or meeting whatsoever, held outside meetings of a L. U., at which the affairs of the L. U. are discussed, or at which conclusions are arrived at regarding the business and the affairs of a L. U., or regarding L. U. officers or a candidate or candidates for L. U. office.
"(16) Mailing, handing out, or posting cards, handbills, letters, marked ballots or political literature of any kind, or displaying streamers, banners, signs or anything else of a political nature, or being a party in any way to such being done in an effort to induce members to vote for or against any candidate or candidates for L. U. office, or candidates to conventions." And see Art. 17, § 1 (b), Constitution of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association; Art. XXIV, § 2, Constitution of the International Association of Machinists.
C. A number of the constitutions of appellant unions provide for the use of compulsory dues and assessments to finance union insurance and death benefit plans. See, e. g., Constitution of the International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers, Art. I, § 22; Constitution of the Railroad Yardmasters of America, Art. VII, § 4; Constitution of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers of America, Art. VII, § 2.