Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS

Air Carrier Labor Law

Airline Labor Law - NOV 2017.pptx
Microsoft Power Point presentation [3.9 MB]
Airline Labor Law.pptx
Microsoft Power Point presentation [4.5 MB]
Airline Labor Law - short version APR 20[...]
Microsoft Power Point presentation [4.5 MB]
Airline Labor Law - DEC 2016.pptx
Microsoft Power Point presentation [1.9 MB]
Airline Labor Law supplement.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [6.9 MB]

Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)

The Railway Labor Act (RLA) of 1926 – governs labor relations in the air carrier industry as of 1936 – to minimize interference in interstate commerce caused by labor disputes in the mass transportations industries while insuring transportation employees’ right to engage in collective bargaining and collective action

Railway Labor Act - Full text

Jurisdiction: 

§ 181. Application of subchapter I to carriers by air

All of the provisions of subchapter I of this chapter except section 153 of this title are extended to and shall cover every common carrier by air engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, and every carrier by air transporting mail for or under contract with the United States Government, and every air pilot or other person who performs any work as an employee or subordinate official of such carrier or carriers, subject to its or their continuing authority to supervise and direct the manner of rendition of his service.

 

National Mediation Board (NMB) applies a 2-pronged test to determine whether a company fits the definition of "common carrier by air engaged in interstate or foreign commerce:

1. function test - whether the work is of a nature traditionally performed by employees of air carriers

2. control test - whether a common carrier exercises direct or indirect control over the work 

NMB has jurisdiction over:

  • companies providing scheduled air service
  • air charter companies
  • air ambulance services
  • fractional aircraft operator also holding a 14 CFR Part 135 operating certificate
  • FBOs providing air taxi, charter and on-demand air transport along with aircraft rental, refueling, and aircraft maintenance

 

General characteristics of the RLA:

  • union or agency shops
  • compulsory mediation and opportunity for binding arbitration
  • postponement of right to strike

 

 2 types of air carrier labor law cases:

  1. representation
  2. disputes

 

Representation cases

  • to raise interest union distributes information and air carrier may not interfere
  • union circulates authorization cards to prospective members
  • if 35% of employees eligible to vote sign authorization cards an election is justified
  • union petition NMB to hold an election
  • NMB investigates workers to determine who are “labor” (and can vote) and who are “management” (and cannot vote)
  • Election is held under NMB supervision
  • If simple majority of those who cast ballots, cast them in favor of union, then NMB certifies union as official collective bargaining representative
  • Once union is certified it has exclusive authority to represent all of air carrier’s employees
  • Union has duty of fair representation of all of air carrier’s employees
  • Upon certification, union will enter into negotiations with company management for an employment contract
  • Both sides have a legal duty to bargain in good faith
  • Once a new contract is negotiated union must present contract to affected members for ratification or rejection
  • If simple majority rejects the union returns to bargaining table and resumes negotiations

 

Dispute cases

2 categories:

1. minor disputes – grievances – disputes over interpretation and application of employment contract e.g. employee discipline

RLA requires that employment contract provide for creation of System Board of Adjustment to resolve minor disputes – minor disputes cannot be brought in front of court except in rare exceptional cases

Due process of law guarantees these rights:

  • to have a hearing before a fair and impartial decision maker
  • to have adequate notice of the nature of the charges and of the time and place of the hearing to allow one to prepare
  • to be represented by legal counsel if one chooses
  • to testify and present witnesses and evidence on your behalf
  • to cross-examine witnesses for the opposition

2. major disputes – involve negotiation of either a new employment contract or a change to the existing contract – aka Kabuki Theater – until procedure completed RLA requires status quo be maintained

Collective bargaining agreements do not expire – they have an amendable date

Kabuki Theater procedure:

  • party desiring change must notify the other side in writing aka Section 6 notice
  • both sides must then confer within 30 days and bargain in good faith – trade offs and counter proposals at this stage which continues until impasse
  • if impasse then either side can request mediation by NMB
  • if mediator declares impasse NMB will offer the opportunity for binding arbitration
  • panel of 3 arbitrators – decision is final and cannot be appealed
  • if either party rejects arbitration as a method of dispute resolution there is a mandatory 30-day cooling off period during which parties must keep the status quo
  • not uncommon for supermediation at this point: meeting with 1 of 3 presidential appointees to NMB designed to bring visibility and political pressure to bear on the parties to reevaluate their positions one last time
  • after cooling off period and still no resolution parties are free to resort to self-help – strikes etc

 

Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) – last effort to aid parties in reaching agreement without disruptions of a strike

 

Wildcat strikes – employees acting independently of the union – injunction compelling workers to go back to work – back to work order – if not then held in contempt of court and fined and/or imprisoned

 

In proceedings for reorganization of companies under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code bankruptcy judges are empowered to order modification or termination of collective bargaining agreements and often wild that power in their efforts to restructure the company to improve its chances of survival

 

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) 

 

TSA_vs_AFGE_(FLRA).doc
Microsoft Word document [51.0 KB]

Personal Jurisdiction

 

Walden v. Fiore - specific jurisdiction - 3 part test:

1. non-resident defendant must purposefully direct his activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or a forum resident, or perform some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws

2. claim must be one which arises out of or relates to non-resident defendant's forum-related activities

3. exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice (must be reasonable)

 

Terracom v. Valley Nat. Bank - 7 reasonableness factors

 

Rice Aircraft Services, Inc. v. Soars

 

Everett v. BRP-Powertrain, GmbH, & Co. KG

 

Sutcliffe v. Honeywell Intern., Inc. 

 

Daimler AG v. Bauman - Court nearly eliminates general jurisdiction

 

Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, SA v. Brown - Court nearly eliminates general jurisdiction

 

Williams v. MD Helicopters Inc. - Court restricts use of general jurisdiction

 

Brady v. Southwest Airlines Co. - both general and specific jurisdiction

 

Mullen v. Bell Helicopter Textron

 

ITL Int'l, Inc. v. Consenla, SA

 

Davidson v. Honeywell Intern. Inc.

 

Carpenter v. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

 

Lothrop v. North American Charter Inc.

 

JB Aviation v. R Aviation Charter Services, LLC

 

Broadus v. Delta Air Lines

 

Seegar v. Anticola

 

Kedrowski v. Lycoming Engines

 

Luvin v. Delta Airlines, Inc.

 

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

 

Flylux, LLC v. Aerovias de Mexico, SA de CV

 

Williams v. Perez

 

Removal

 

A. Federal Officer removal under 28 USC 1442

 

Lu Junhong v. Boeing Co. - based on admiralty jurisdiction

 

Watson v. Philip Morris Companies, Inc.

 

Executive Jet Aviation v. Cleveland

 

Offshore Logistics, Inc. v. Tallentire

 

Brokaw v. Boeing Co.

 

Boyd v. Boeing Co.

 

B. Removal based on Preemption

 

Crown v. PHI Air Medical LLC - complete preemption

 

Baugh v. Delta Airlines, Inc.

 

Sangmi Lee v. AMR Corporation

 

Batteries R US Co. v. Fega Express Corp.

 

C. Fraudulent Joinder

 

Reynolds v. The Boeing Co.

 

D. Other

 

Bullar v. US Specialty Ins. Co.

 

Forum non Conveniens

 

Lumenta v. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.

 

Bjorkstam v. MPC Products Corp.

 

Preemption

 

A. Field Preemption

 

Cleveland v. Piper Aircraft Corp.

 

Sikkelee v. Precision Automotive Corp.

 

Abdullah v. American Airlines

 

Cleveland v. Piper Aircraft Co.

 

Estate of Becker v. Forward Technologies, Inc.

 

Ahmadi v. United Continental Holdings, Inc.

 

Gilstrap v. United Airlines

 

Spadoni v. United Airlines, Inc.

 

Blackwell v. Panhandle Helicopter Inc.

 

B. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) - 28 USC 1605

- affords the "sole basis" for obtaining jurisdiction over a foreign state in the United States - if plaintiffs fail to satisfy the terrorism exception to the FSIAthe claim requires dismissal

 

OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs

 

Saudi Arabia v. Nelson

 

Abdel-Karim v. EgyptAir Airlines

 

Flanagan v. Islamic Republic of Iran

 

Aureus Asset Managers, Ltd. v. United States

 

Mohammadi v. Islamic Republic of Iran

 

C. Airline Deregulation Act (ADA)

 

National Federation of the Blind v. United Airlines, Inc.

 

Charas v. Trans World Airlines, Inc.

 

Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transport Ass'n

 

Northwest, Inc. v. Ginsberg

 

Geier v. Am. Honda Motor Co.

 

Xiaoyun Lu v. AirTran Airways, Inc. - 49 USC 44902(b) absolves air carriers of liability for refusal to transport to a passenger if the carrier decides the passenger is, or might be, inimical to safety

inimincal: tending to obstruct or harm 

 

Overka v. American Airlines

 

Valencia v. SCIS Air Security Corp.

 

Grupp v. DHL Express (USA) Inc.

 

Morales v. Trans World Airlines Inc.

 

American Airlines, Inc. v. Wolens

 

Pac Anchor Transp., Inc. v. California ex rel. Harris

 

Glisan v. United Airlines

 

David v. United Continental Holdings, Inc.

 

Segalman v. Southwest Airlines Co.

 

Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA)

 

Baez v. JetBlue Airways Corp.

 

Montreal Convention (and Warsaw)

 

A. Limitations of Actions

 

Cattaneo v. American Airlines, Inc.

 

D'engle v. City of New York

 

B. Defendants subject to Convention

 

Baillee v. Medaire Inc.

 

C. Venue

 

Avalon Technologies Inc. v. Emo-Trans, Inc.

 

Atlantic Marine Const. v. U.S. District Court for W. Dist. of Texas 

 

D. Bodily Injury

 

Doe v. Etihad Airways P.J.D.C

 

E. Delay

 

Sangmi Lee v. AMR Corporation

 

Smith v. American Airlines, Inc.

 

F. Accident

 

Naqvi v. Turkish Airlines, Inc.

 

Nguyen v. Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd

 

Olympic Airways v. Husain

 

Blansett v. Continental Airlines, Inc.

 

Plonka v. US Airways

 

G. Cargo

 

Batteries R US Co. v. Fega Express Corp.

 

Han v. FedEx Express

 

Yoly Farmers Corp. v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.

 

H. Other

 

Narkiewicz-Laine v. Aer Lingus Limited

 

Sangmi Lee v. AMR Corporation

 

Product Liability

 

A. Proof of Defect

 

Lewis v. Lycoming

 

Tincher v. Omega Flex Inc.

 

Schwarz v. Abex Corp.

 

City of New York v. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.

 

Sikkelee v. Precision Automotive Corp.

 

Crouch v. John Jewell Aircraft Inc. - challenges to qualifications or methodology of experts

 

 

B. GARA/Statute of Repose

 

Linfoot v. McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co.

 

SOCAR (Societe Cameroonaise d'Assurance et de Reassurance) v. Boeing Co.

 

Hutton v. Boeing Co.

 

Federal Tort Claims Act 

 

A. Limitations of Actions

 

United States v. Kwai Fun Wong

 

Menominee Tribe of Wis. v. United States

 

B. Air Traffic Control

 

Tuturro v. U.S.

 

C. Federal Employees

 

Vanderklok v. U.S. 

 

D. FECA

 

Krogen v. U.S.

 

Class Actions

 

Volodarskiy v. Delta Airlines Inc.

 

Berkson v. Gogo LLC

 

Ranbarran v. Dynamic Airways LLC

 

Insurance

 

A. Compulsory Insurance Doctrine

 

Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Professional Aircraft Line Service (PALS)

 

B. Ripeness of Declaratory Judgment Action 

 

Quest Aviation, Inc. v. Nationair Insurance Agencies, Inc.

 

C. Life Insurance

 

Williams v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh

 

Florida Tube Corp. v. Metlife Ins. Co. of Connecticut

 

Punitive Damages

 

Johnson v. United States

 

Manufacturers Collection Co. LLC v. Precision Airmotive LLC

 

Airports/Nuisance

 

City of Dallas v. Delta Airlines, Inc.

 

Lewis v. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.

 

City of Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal Inc.

 

Anne Arundel County v. Bell

 

Friends of the East Hampton Airport, Inc v. Town of East Hampton

 

In re Flyboy Aviation Properties, LLC

 

Pofolk Aviation Hawaii, Inc. v. Department of Transp. for State

 

DBT Yuma LLC v. Yuma City Airport Authority

 

Civil Procedure

 

A. Twiqbal

 

Cheramine v. Panther Helicopters Inc.

 

B. Discovery

 

Tyre v. Southwest Airlines, Co.

 

C. Post-Trial Motions

 

Bouret v. Echevarria v. Caribbean Aviation Maintenance Corp.

 

Evidence

 

A. Other Incidents

 

Wells v. Robinson Helicopter Co. Inc.

 

B. Experts

 

Dudley Flying Serv. Inc. v. AG Air Maint. Servs. Inc.

 

Lewis v. Lycoming

 

Birtciel v. XL Specialty Ins.

 

C. NTSB Reports

 

Helicopters Inc. v. National Transportation Safety Board

 

Paulsboro Derailment Cases

 

Seegar v. Anticola

 

D. Judicial Notice

 

Rowe v. Gibson

 

Administrative Law

 

Flytenow, Inc. v. FAA

 

Ege v. US Department of Homeland Security

 

Huerta v. Ducote

 

Joshi v. NTSB

 

Res Judicata

 

Medina-Padilla v. Piedmont Aviation Services, Inc.

 

Conflict of Laws

 

Manufacturers Collection Co. LLC v. Precision Airmotive LLC

 

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Arteaga

 

Linfoot v. McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co.

 

Breach of Contract 

 

Coulier v. United Airlines, Inc.

 

Opper v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.

 

False Claims Act 

 

US ex rel. Gage v. Davis S. R. Aviation LLC

 

Integrative bargaining (also called "interest-based bargaining," "win-win bargaining") is a negotiation strategy in which parties collaborate to find a "win-win" solution to their dispute. This strategy focuses on developing mutually beneficial agreements based on the interests of the disputants.

 

Distributive bargaining is the approach to bargaining or negotiation that is used when the parties are trying to divide something up--distribute something. It contrasts with integrative bargaining in which the parties are trying to make more of something. This is most commonly explained in terms of a pie.

 

 

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Contact Me

Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS

 

602 561 8665

 

sarah@sarahnilsson.org

 

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Legal disclaimer 

The information on this website is for educational purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not your attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.

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