W.P. Kennedy as President of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen against the Long Island Railroad Company Court Documents

Collection Number: 5348

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library

This collection was processed with the help of generous funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

W.P. Kennedy as President of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen against the Long Island Railroad Company Court Documents, 1961-1962
Collection Number:
Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen (BRT);
Long Island Railroad Company (LIRR)
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents).
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Plaintiffs' Brief and the Jointly Prepared Record of Proceedings from a civil suit filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York [SDNY] by W. P. Kennedy in his role as president of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen [BRT] and on behalf of other local unions against the Long Island Rail Road Company [LIRR], the Association of American Railroads [AAR], and other associated corporate entities in order to recover damages incurred by the BRT and its union members during a 26 day strike in July and August 1960. [Civil Action No. 60-3496]
Collection material in English


After the conclusion of a twenty-six day strike by the workers on the LIRR, the BRT and its officers filed suit against the LIRR, the AAR, and other ssociated corporate entities, alleging that sometime prior to 1959, the vice-president in charge of the law department of the AAR met with designated representatives of the other railroad defendants, including the LIRR, to create a pool of their assets and earnings for the purpose of assisting any participating member which might be affected by a work stoppage or strike. The plaintiffs argued that this artificially strengthened the economic bargaining position of individual railroad companies in collective bargaining with unions.
The BRT and its officers contended that the costs the union incurred during the strike, which was prompted by the failure of collective bargaining and mediation proceedings between the LIRR and the BRT in 1959-1960 to establish a five day work week without a reduction in pay for the LIRR's employees, were a result of the LIRR entering into the "strike insurance" pool. This suit was filed to determine the legality of the LIRR, AAR, and other associated railroads entering into this pool with the understanding that if the "strike insurance" was itself illegal, then the defendants would be liable for the damages incurred by the plaintiffs while their members were in strike. The plaintiffs further charged that the defendants used some funds from the pool to run a campaign through the AAR's public relations department designed to influence public opinion against organized labor.
The only question under consideration by the court was whether the LIRR's purchase of "strike insurance" through the AAR was illegal. In 1962, the court found that it was not.
Not included in this collection is the decision of the court, which found in favor of the defendants and dismissed the suit without cost [211 F. Supp. 478 (S.D.N.Y. 1962)]. The decision of the court may be found here.


Inclusive date range: 1961-1962
Bulk date: 1961
This collection consists of two copies of a brief filed on behalf of the BRT, et al., plaintiffs, by W. P. Kennedy against the LIRR the AAR and associated corporate entities, as well as the jointly prepared record of proceedings, which include the exhibits to joint stipulation of facts, contained in three bound volumes. The brief and the bound volumes of the proceeding contain tables of contents and lists of exhibits presented during the proceedings. The plaintiffs were seeking monetary recompense for damages suffered during a 26 day strike in the summer of 1960 as well as questioning the legality of the LIRR entering, under the auspices of the AAR, into a "strike insurance" monetary pool with other rail carriers in order to strengthen their position in collective bargaining with their employees' unions. Plaintiffs charged that this action was in violation of the Railway Labor Act, the Interstate Commerce Act, and the Sherman Act.
Included in the plaintiffs' exhibits are reproductions of advertisements the AAR ran in daily newspapers, condemning the practice of "featherbedding" (i.e. retaining jobs that are identified as obsolete, generally as the result of a union contract). These ads compare the cost of featherbedding to the railroads with major American disasters, such as the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the Chicago fire of 1871, in an attempt, the plaintiffs argue, to turn public opinion against the unions. Also included in the exhibits are excerpts from the BRT's weekly newsletter and the newspaper, Labor.

Kennedy, W. P.
Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.
Long Island Railroad Company.
Association of American Railroads.

Strike insurance. United States.
Strikes and lockouts. United States.
Industrial relations. United States.
Railroads. Employees. United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (documents)


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Cite As:
W.P. Kennedy as President of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen against the Long Island Railroad Company Court Documents #5348. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5149: Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen Records


Box 1 Folder 1 1962
2 copies
Box 1 Folder 2 1961
Pages 1 to 346 (2 copies)
Box 1 Folder 3 1961
Pages 347 to 606
Box 1 Folder 4 1961
Pages 607 to 940