EMPLOYMENT (PILOT RIGHTS & SAFETY DECISIONS) / Cargo airline disciplined pilot in charge of flight where pilot / PIC took safety precaution (asked for change in alternate airport assigned in flight into China) and airline-employer believed pilot’s / PIC’s action unnecessary – held: (1) There is no private right of action available to pilot / PIC to vindicate his rights as he views them pursuant to the Federal Aviation Regulation, and (2) no violation by airline of the Railway Labor Act either.

Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local Union No. 1224 v. ABX Air, Inc., Case No. 1:12cv569 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, July 12, 2013. Copy of court-issued opinion available here.

CIVIL PROCEDURE (DEPOSITIONS) / Frontier Airlines moves for sanctions against the Teamsters Union in an action under the Railway Labor Act (punitive payments ordered by the court for misconduct in the context of the litigation). Airline seeks deposition directed to Teamsters organization (Federal Rules Civil Procedure 30(b)(6)). Court: 30(b)(6) depositions directed at a whole organization are more complicated than typical deposition of a named individual. Held: No sanctions – but court orders what it calls a “do over” under specified strict conditions.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division v. Frontier Airlines, Inc., 2013 WL 627149 (U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, February 19, 2013). Free copy available here.

Discussion of 30(b)(6) depositions: Continue reading

EMPLOYMENT & LABOR (COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS) / 4 cases addressing collective bargaining agreements in trucking and rail under various statutes.

Rutherford v. Judge & Dolph, Ltd,2013 WL 411358 (U.S Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, February 4, 2013). Free copy available here.

Labor Management Relations Act of 1947.

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., 2013 WL 516095 (U.S Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, February 13, 2013)(Opinion by Posner, J.). Free copy available here.

Railway Labor Act

Teamsters Local Union No. 89 v. Kroger Co., 2013 WL 441993 (U.S District for the Western District of Kentucky, February 5, 2013). No free copy available at time of posting.

Labor Management Relations Act of 1947

General Drivers, Warehousemen & Helpers, Local Union No. 89 v. Jack Cooper, Slip copy, 2013 WL 427347 (U.S District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, February 4, 2013). Free copy available here.

Labor Management Relations Act of 1947

AVIATION / Under the Railway Labor Act pilot’s claims under his collective bargaining agreement were subject to mandatory arbitration and the federal district court had lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear them.

The gist of the opinion is that the Railway Labor Act sets up a comprehensive framework of labor relations for the purpose of avoiding disruption to railroads and airlines due to labor disputes. What this plaintiff claims – relating to his termination – amounts to a “minor dispute” under the Railway Labor Act. 

Stewart v. Spirit Airlines, Inc., Slip copy, 2013 WL 135114 (U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, January 10, 2013). Free copy available hereContinue reading

EMPLOYMENT & AVIATION / Airline employee’s claim for retaliation motivated by his union activities dismissed because not brought within Railway Labor Act’s 6-month statute of limitations.

 A reminder that whistle-blower and anti-retaliation statutes of various sorts in transportation (and other industries for that matter) are subject to very short statutes of limitations  in comparison with those that apply to other causes of action. 

Martin v. Piedmont Airlines, 2013 WL 64432 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, January 7, 2013). Free copy available here.

EMPLOYMENT (LABOR LAW) & RAILROAD / D.C. District Court upholds U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board determination that whistle-blower anti-retaliation claims under federal statute (Federal Rail Safety Act as enacted 1970 and amended in 1980 and 2007 concerning whistle-blower anti-retaliation) may be pursued simultaneously with grievance process under Railway Labor Act § 3.

With this decision the development of whistle-blower and anti-retaliation statutory law takes another significant step. To the extent of this U.S. District Court’s ruling, 49 U.S.C. § 20109 is applied according to its literal terms – barring immediate appeal from an administrative review board decision on whistle-blower anti-retaliation claims to the federal court system. 

This has implications not only in rail, but in aviation, maritime and motor carrier – each of which is subject to whistle-blower anti-relation statutes. 

Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. Solis, 2013 WL 39226 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, January 3, 2013). Free copy available here. Continue reading

AVIATION & EMPLOYMENT (LABOR LAW) / The National Mediation Board amends its existing regulations pertaining to representation elections, run-off elections, and rulemaking to reflect changes in statutory language In response to amendments to the Railway Labor Act in the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization Reform Act of 2012.

Who is affected?  Airline and railroad employees whose employment law is governed by the Railway Labor Act, and the airlines and railroad who employ them.

(December 21, 2012, Final rule ):

As the Federal Register announcement states, this final rule is issued pursuant to legislative command contained in amendments to existing law pertaining to (1) run-off elections, (2) showing of interest requirements, and (3) rulemaking:  Continue reading

RAILROAD & EMPLOYMENT (LABOR LAW) / The National Mediation Board amends its existing regulations pertaining to representation elections, run-off elections, and rulemaking to reflect changes in statutory language In response to amendments to the Railway Labor Act in the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization Reform Act of 2012.

Who is affected?  Airline and railroad employees whose employment law is governed by the Railway Labor Act, and the airlines and railroad who employ them.

(December 21, 2012, Final rule ):

SEE LINK TO PARALLEL STORY ABOVE HERE.