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Air Cargo v. Local Union 851

April 26, 1984

AIR CARGO INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
LOCAL UNION 851, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS ("LOCAL 851"), MARK DAVIDOFF, AS SECRETARY-TREASURER OF LOCAL 851 AND AS UNION MEMBER OF LOCAL 851 JOINT GRIEVANCE SETTLEMENT BOARD ("JGSB"), MICHAEL HUNT, AS PRESIDENT OF LOCAL 851, AND AS UNION MEMBER OF JGSB, JOSEPH KONZELMAN, AS EMPLOYER MEMBER OF JGSB, JUDY BERNSTEIN, AS ALTERNATE EMPLOYER MEMBER OF JGSB, AND GEORGE EHRLINGER, AS ALTERNATE EMPLOYER MEMBER OF JGSB, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



Appeal from an order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Costantino, J., dismissing two of appellant's causes of action and remanding them to the System Board of Adjustment pursuant to Railway Labor Act § 204, 45 U.S.C. § 184 (1976). We hold that when appellant served a notice of proposed changes in working conditions embodied in a collective bargaining agreement and that agreement expired, the district court had exclusive jurisdiction to decide whether appellee was meeting its obligations under Railway Labor Act § 6, 45 U.S.C. § 156 (1976).

Meskill, Cardamone and Pierce, Circuit Judges.

Author: Meskill

MESKILL, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal from an order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Costantino, J., dismissing Air Cargo Inc.'s complaint seeking injunctive relief based on Local Union 851's alleged violation of the status quo provisions of Railway Labor Act § 6, 45 U.S.C. § 156 (1976), and based on actions which Air Cargo claims were intended as illegal economic coercion. We reverse and remand.

BACKGROUND

Appellant Air Cargo Inc. (ACI) is wholly owned by approximately thirty United States airlines and is subject to the provisions of the Railway Labor Act (RLA or Act). RLA §§ 201-02, 45 U.S.C. §§ 181-82 (1976). It provides trucking and other services involved in transporting air freight to those airlines. Appellee Local 851 was the recognized representative of ACI's office and clerical workers, customer service employees and drivers*fn1 from about 1972 until March 2, 1983. It represents only the drivers at this time.

On August 31, 1979, ACI and Local 851 entered into separate three year agreements for the drivers and the clerical employees. The drivers' agreement included the following provisions:

Employees time worked shall be computed from time required to report at the garage or terminal and to the time of return to the same garage or terminal. Employees shall not work overtime, or on a sixth (6th) or seventh (7th) day during any period when employees covered by this agreement are laid off.

Guaranteed work force . . .In the event of a lay-off being effected . . . during the period of such lay-off there shall be no overtime, sixth or seventh day work assignments. . . .

J. App. at 9, 19-20 (Master Agreement §§ 2(C), 7(E)). Prior to the August 31, 1982 expiration of the agreement, both parties served on each other notices of intended changes in the collective bargaining agreement. Local 851 proposed to retain the above provision, while ACI proposed to delete them and to add a provision that Local 851 employees were required to perform overtime and holiday work. At the time of the expiration of the agreement, ACI was assigning sixth and seventh day (weekend) and overtime work even though there had evidently been layoffs prior to August 31, see J. App. at 331, all in contravention of the terms of the agreement. It was also directing some employees to clock in and out at airline terminals rather than at ACI's terminal, which was also contrary to the provisions of the agreement.

On December 21, 1982, an application was filed on behalf of Local 851 with the National Mediation Board seeking Mediation Board certification of Local 851 as the representative of ACI's office/clerical, customer service and fleet service employees (drivers). The Mediation Board separately docketed the representation applications for each of the three classes.

ACI laid off three drivers on February 4, 1983. It asserts that it did so because it had hired three drivers on December 2, 1982 as a result of a threatened work stoppage, and because it wanted to return the number of drivers to that existing on August 31, 1982. Despite these layoffs, it assigned weekend and overtime work.It also directed some drivers to clock in and out at airline terminals, as it had been doing on August 31.

On March 1, 1983, the National Mediation Board dismissed the representation petition for the office/clerical and customer service employees, at which time ACI withdrew it recognition of Local 851 as the representative of those employees.*fn2

Subsequently, Local 851 sued in district court to enjoin ACI from withdrawing recognition of its representation of the clerical and customer service workers. On March 18 the district court denied the injunction. Immediately after the district court's decision, Local 851 ordered its employees not to perform any more weekend or overtime work and to clock in and out only at the ACI terminal. ACI responded by adding to a previously filed complaint against Local 851 (unrelated to this appeal) two causes of action alleging that Local 851 was violating its obligations under the RLA to maintain the August 31, 1982 "status quo" by ordering its drivers not to perform weekend and overtime work and to report only to the ACI terminal (fourth cause of action) and that Local 851's actions were intended to coerce ACI into resuming recognition of Local 851 as the representative of the office/clerical and customer service employees (fifth cause of action). See J. App. at 205, ...


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