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
§ 181. Application of subchapter I to carriers by
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:
- to raise interest union distributes information and air carrier may not interfere
- union circulates authorization cards to prospective members
- if 50% 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
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
- 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)
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.
Sutcliffe v. Honeywell
Daimler AG v. Bauman - Court nearly eliminates
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
Mullen v. Bell Helicopter Textron
ITL Int'l, Inc. v. Consenla, SA
Davidson v. Honeywell
Carpenter v. Sikorsky Aircraft
Lothrop v. North American Charter
JB Aviation v. R
Aviation Charter Services, LLC
Broadus v. Delta Air
Seegar v. Anticola
Kedrowski v. Lycoming Engines
Luvin v. Delta Airlines, Inc.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Flylux, LLC v. Aerovias de Mexico, SA de
A. Federal Officer removal under 28 USC
Lu Junhong v. Boeing
Co. - based on admiralty jurisdiction
Watson v. Philip
Morris Companies, Inc.
Executive Jet Aviation
Inc. v. Tallentire
Brokaw v. Boeing Co.
Boyd v. Boeing
B. Removal based on Preemption
Crown v. PHI Air
Medical LLC - complete preemption
Baugh v. Delta
Sangmi Lee v. AMR Corporation
Batteries R US Co. v.
Fega Express Corp.
C. Fraudulent Joinder
Reynolds v. The Boeing Co.
Bullar v. US Specialty
Forum non Conveniens
Lumenta v. Bell
Helicopter Textron, Inc.
Bjorkstam v. MPC Products
A. Field Preemption
Cleveland v. Piper
Sikkelee v. Precision Automotive Corp.
Abdullah v. American
Cleveland v. Piper
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
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
Saudi Arabia v.
Abdel-Karim v. EgyptAir
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
Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transport Ass'n
Northwest, Inc. v.
Geier v. Am. Honda
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
inimical: tending to obstruct or harm
Overka v. American
Valencia v. SCIS Air
Grupp v. DHL Express
Morales v. Trans World
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
Aviation and Transportation Security Act
Baez v. JetBlue Airways Corp.
A. Limitations of Actions
Cattaneo v. American
D'engle v. City of New York
B. Defendants subject to Convention
Baillee v. Medaire
Avalon Technologies Inc. v. Emo-Trans,
Atlantic Marine Const. v. U.S. District Court for W. Dist. of Texas
D. Bodily Injury
Doe v. Etihad Airways
Lee v. AMR Corporation
Smith v. American
Naqvi v. Turkish
Nguyen v. Korean Air
Lines Co. Ltd
Olympic Airways v.
Continental Airlines, Inc.
Plonka v. US
Batteries R US Co. v. Fega Express Corp.
Han v. FedEx
Yoly Farmers Corp. v.
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Aer Lingus Limited
Lee v. AMR Corporation
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
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
C. Federal Employees
Volodarskiy v. Delta
Berkson v. Gogo
Ranbarran v. Dynamic Airways LLC
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
Johnson v. United States
Collection Co. LLC v. Precision Airmotive LLC
City of Dallas v. Delta Airlines,
Lewis v. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.
City of Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal Inc.
Anne Arundel County v.
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
DBT Yuma LLC v. Yuma City Airport Authority
Cheramine v. Panther Helicopters Inc.
Tyre v. Southwest Airlines, Co.
C. Post-Trial Motions
Bouret v. Echevarria v. Caribbean Aviation Maintenance Corp.
A. Other Incidents
Wells v. Robinson
Helicopter Co. Inc.
Dudley Flying Serv. Inc. v. AG Air Maint.
Birtciel v. XL
C. NTSB Reports
Helicopters Inc. v. National Transportation Safety Board
Paulsboro Derailment Cases
D. Judicial Notice
Flytenow, Inc. v.
Ege v. US Department of Homeland Security
Medina-Padilla v. Piedmont Aviation
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
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.
Thousands Of Holiday Flights On American Airlines
Have No Pilots Due To Computer Glitch: Union
Glitch at American Airlines could spell trouble for Christmas
upcoming American Airlines flights don’t have pilots
Case 75: Goodwin v. Ridge, 2005 WL 2176936 (E.D. Ark. 2005)