Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters v. Allegiant Air

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 06-08-2015
  • Case #: 14-16465
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge Murphy for the Court; Circuit Judges Tallman and Rawlinson
  • Full Text Opinion

An advocacy group is considered a Railway Labor Act representative when it seeks certification from the National Mediation Board, or voluntary recognition.

Allegiant Air Pilots Advocacy Group (“AAPAG”) represented the pilots of Allegiant Airlines (“Allegiant”) as the company grew and more routes were added. AAPAG negotiated with Allegiant work rules and grievances from pilots. These contract negotiations (“Work Rules”) were most recently done in 2010. In 2012, the pilots wanted to unionize and elected Teamsters as their Railway Labor Act (“RLA”) representatives, which was certified by the National Mediation Board (“the Board”). During this transition, Allegiant changed several polices without consulting Teamsters. The district court asserted jurisdiction, and determined that Teamsters was an RLA representative, and further enjoined policy changes from Allegiant. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that when a party challenges an action of the Board, the district court is limited to ensuring the action was constitutional, but when a party brings a claim that does not challenge an action, the district court has jurisdiction even if the claim denies the Board’s conclusion. The panel next reviewed whether Teamsters was an RLA representative. The panel found there was no representative dispute because there were no competing unions trying to obtain the right to bargain, and neither party disputed that Teamsters were the pilots’ current representatives. The panel determined that the Work Rules was not a collective bargaining agreement under the RLA because AAPAG never told Allegiant that AAPAG was bargaining as RLA representatives, instead of a non-employee committee, never presented itself as a RLA bargaining agent, and did not demand recognition from the carrier, or certification from the Board, thus not making AAPAG an RLA representative. The panel concluded that by finding AAPAG was not an RLA representative, granting injunctive relief was an error. VACATED and REMANDED.

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