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TEAMSTERS JOINT COUNCIL 40

January 28, 1965

TEAMSTERS JOINT COUNCIL 40 (J.C.), Local Union No. 249, affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Western Pennsylvania Motor Carriers Association, Inc. (WPMCA), a corporation, Plaintiffs,
v.
The UNITED STATES of America and the Interstate Commerce Commission, and Middle Atlantic Conference, Intervener, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLSON

Plaintiffs are Teamsters Joint Council No. 40 and Local Union No. 249, affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, and Western Pennsylvania Motor Carriers Association, Inc. They filed the instant complaint on May 14, 1964. The action was filed as a three judge court case under sections 1336, 1398, 2284, and 2321 through 2325, inclusive, of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C. § 1336, 1398, 2284, and 2321-2325, to enjoin, annul, and set aside the report and order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, Division 2, entered December 10, 1963, in Docket No. 34150, Middle Atlantic Conference v. A.A.A. Trucking Corp., 321 I.C.C. 406, in which the Commission found that the defendant motor carriers had furnished helpers, as well as drivers, to load or unload truckload shipments to or from the Pittsburgh area, without providing for such services in their tariffs or assessing charges therefor, in violation of sections 216 and 217 of the Interstate Commerce Act, and ordered such carriers to cease and desist their unlawful practices and to publish a remedial tariff rule, as specified by the Commission.

 This statutory three judge court has been duly convened by an order of Chief Judge John Biggs, Jr. In due course the case came on for oral argument. Briefs were filed and counsel have been heard at argument, and the matter has been considered. In several respects this controversy is unique. In the first place there are no carriers or shippers objecting to the ICC action. The case before us is being pressed by the two labor unions. The Western Pennsylvania Motor Carriers Association, Inc., joined as a party plaintiff because it agreed with the unions to do so. This plaintiff is not a carrier, but an association formed by carriers. It does not contend that the ICC order is in anywise illegal or beyond the powers of the ICC to promulgate. Also the case is unique in that plaintiffs do not aver any lack of substantial evidence before the Commission but charge only that the Commission's order is too broad in that it impairs their labor contract. In their brief the union plaintiffs submit that they are not parties in interest or persons adversely affected or aggrieved in any order of the Commission requiring the carriers to charge consignors or consignees for services of a helper in loading or unloading truckload traffic. That issue, says plaintiffs, is solely between the Commission and the carriers. Plaintiffs say in their brief that:

 'If the Commission, presumably acting under its statutory authority to require carriers to make 'just and reasonable' charges 'for any service rendered or to be rendered' (49 U.S.C. Sections 316(a) through (e)), the Union Plaintiffs have no valid standing in this Court to make complaint thereof. 'However,' says the plaintiffs, 'when the Commission extended its order to prohibit the carriers from furnishing helpers without the request of the consignor or consignee, in derogation of the collective bargaining agreement between the carriers and the Plaintiff Unions, the Commission exceeded it statutory authority in two respects: (1) unlawfully delegating its authority to consignors and consignees; and (2) the subject matter and the order of the Commission invades the regulatory territory Congress has preempted.'

 1. Whether the plaintiffs lack standing to maintain this action.

 2. Whether there was a rational basis for the Commission's conclusion that the furnishing of helper service without tariff authority or appropriate charges therefor, as more fully described in the Commission's report, was in violation of the provisions of sections 216 and 217 of the Interstate Commerce Act and whether its prescription of a rule that helpers would be furnished only upon request of the consignors or consignees accorded with the applicable law.

 We have thus presented a situation in which there is no controversy as to the proceedings before the Commission. The Commission's record is before us. Plaintiffs complain that the Commission exceeded its statutory authority in the two respects just quoted, that is, unlawfully delegating its authority as to requirements of helpers to consignor and consignee, and, secondly, that the Commission's order invades the regulatory territory Congress has preempted. Of course, as to the latter, plaintiffs say that the Commission does not have power to determine labor disputes, even those involving common carriers.

 An examination of the issues before this Court brings us back to the consideration of what are the powers of this three judge court with respect to the ICC order. Again there is no controversy as to the scope of judicial review in a case of this kind. Counsel have cited a recent decision of this Court, Worster Motor Lines, Inc. v. United States, 226 F.Supp. 603 (D.C.W.D.Pa.1963). Also it is to be observed that the Courts are not to substitute their discretion for that of the Commission. And Mr. Justice White in Burlington Truck Lines v. United States, 371 U.S. 156, 169, 83 S. Ct. 239, 246, 9 L. Ed. 2d 207 (1962), observed:

 "(A) simple but fundamental rule of administrative law * * * is * * * that a reviewing court, in dealing with a determination or judgment which an administrative agency alone is authorized to make, must judge the propriety of such action solely by the grounds invoked by the agency. If those grounds are inadequate or improper, the court is powerless to affirm the administrative action * * *.' Ibid.'

 It is to be emphasized again that the plaintiffs do not quarrel with the proceedings before the Commission. That being so, the defendants in their brief have summarized those proceedings, and for convenience the Court recites such summary which is as follows:

 'By complaint filed September 25, 1962, the Middle Atlantic Conference *fn1" alleged that named motor carriers participating in movements between points in middle Atlantic territory and the Pittsburgh area *fn2" were supplying additional personnel to load or unload truckload shipments capable of being handled by the drivers alone, without having made tariff provisions or assessing charges therefor, in violation of, inter alia, sections 216 and 217 of the Interstate Commerce Act. *fn3"

 'The complaint was heard before an examiner of the Commission, at Washington, D.C., on February 13-15 and 25, 1963. Few of the defendant motor carriers appeared, *fn4" and only three testified in their behalf. *fn5" At the close of the hearings the Conference and most of the participating carriers filed briefs, and on June 12, 1963, the examiner served his report and recommended order. The examiner concluded that the practices of the defendant motor carriers violated the Act, stating, in part:

 "The furnishing of helpers by defendants without charge or tariff authority violates sections 216 and 217 of the act, and constitutes a destructive competitive practice contrary to the prohibition against such in the national transportation policy. Section 216 is violated by the furnishing of one or more helpers without charge. This service is valuable and costs the defendants approximately $ 28 per day for each helper. By furnishing this costly service free of charge as described hereinbefore, the defendants give an undue and unreasonable preference and advantage to those persons who receive the service, to those localities where the service is performed, and to truckload traffic between the Pittsburgh area and origins or destinations in middle Atlantic territory; they subject persons, localities, and traffic not receiving such service to unjust discrimination, and to undue and unreasonable prejudice and disadvantage. Section 217 of the act is violated in that defendants have not filed tariffs authorizing helper service without charge, but do furnish such service notwithstanding.'

 'Exceptions to the examiners's report and recommended order were filed by B & P Motor Express, Inc., Continental Transportation Lines, Inc., and The Transportation Corporation, and the Conference replied. On December 10, 1963, the Commission, Division 2, entered its report and order, the report and order assailed herein. The Commission agreed substantially with the findings and conclusions of the examiner and ordered the defendant motor carriers 'to abstain from furnishing helper service without charge to load or unload truckload traffic moving between points in the middle Atlantic territory and the so-called Pittsburgh-Wheeling area' and on such movements 'to ...


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