[327 U.S. 661, 662] Mr.Paul R. Conaghan, of Chicago, Ill., for petitioner.
Mr. Robert L. Stern, of Washington, D.C., for The United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court.
Mr. John H. Gately, of Chicago, Ill., for respondents.
Mr. Justice RUTLEDGE delivered the op nion of the Court.
We adhere to our decision rendered in the opinion filed after the first argument. 325 U.S. 711 , 65 S.Ct. 1282.1 That opinion [327 U.S. 661, 663] expressly refrained from undertaking to make a definitive statement of what might be sufficient evidence of the collective agent's authority either to settle finally the aggrieved individual employee's claims or to represent him exclusively before the Adjustment Board. We do not attempt to do so now. For whether the collective agent has such authority is a question which may arise in many types of situations involving the grievances either of members of the union or of nonmembers, or both, and necessarily therefore no allinclusive rule can be formulated for all such situations. But neither does this mean that an equally all-exclusive rule must be followed, namely, that authority can be given or shown only in some particular way.
The question whether the collective agent has authority, in the two pertinent respects, does not turn on technical agency rules such as apply in the simple, individualistic situation where P deals with T through A about the sale of Blackacre. We are dealing here with problems in a specialized field, with a long background of custom and practice in the railroad world. And the fact that 3 First (i), 45 U.S.C.A. 153, subd. 1(i) provides that disputes between carriers and their employees arising out of grievances or out of the interpretation or application of agreements concerning rates of pay, rules or working conditions 'shall be handled in the usual manner' up to and including the chief operating officer of the carrier, indicates that custom and usage may be as adequate a basis of authority as a more formal authorization for the union, which receives a grievance from an employee for handling, to represent him in settling it or in proceedings before the Board for its determination.