Airline Labor Law: The Railway Labor Act and Aviation After Deregulation

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990 - 199 pages
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Although Americans enjoy the convenience and economic benefits of the world's most advanced air transportation system, the future of the airline industry is clouded by capacity constraints, safety and environmental concerns, the consolidation of carriers, and, especially, airline labor relations under the Railway Labor Act. In this volume, William E. Thoms and Frank J. Dooley provide a comprehensive, authoritative overview of the history, the law, and the mechanics of modern airline labor bargaining. The authors trace the development of airline labor law, the representation and labor bargaining processes, and labor protection. The discussion is enhanced throughout by the inclusion of up-to-date case law. Other statutes which have an important impact on the employment relationship such as the Airline Deregulation Act are also considered in detail. Finally, the authors explore future issues which may affect relations between labor and management in the aviation industry.

The book begins by reviewing the background of airline labor law, providing insights into the origins of airline regulation. The authors then provide a thorough discussion of the Railway Labor Act negotiating process, including the requirements of the Act, procedural steps in major and minor disputes, the role of the National Mediation Board, and mandatory bargaining subjects. Six areas related to the settlement of disputes are then studied in greater detail: the distinction between major and minor disputes; the role of air transport system boards of adjustment; the purpose of emergency boards; the related concepts of impasse, economic self-help, and reinstatement; strikes, boycotts, and injunctions under the Railway Labor Act; and restrictions on subcontracting. The next two chapters examine other statutes affecting airline labor relationships and the labor protection provisions of the Railway Labor Act. The authors conclude by looking at future trends in aviation labor law and the impact of issues such as drug testing, employee ownership plans, and mergers on airline labor relations. Ideal as a set of readings for courses on transportation law, labor economics, and transportation management, this book will also be of significant interest to regulators, union leaders, and attorneys specializing in transportation issues.


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1 Why Airline Labor Law Is Different
2 Establishing the Bargaining Unit
3 Collective Bargaining Under the Railway Labor Act
4 Settlement of Disputes
5 Airline Labor and Other Statutes
6 Labor Protection Provisions
7 Future Trends in Aviation Labor Law
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (1990)

WILLIAM E. THOMS is Professor of Law at the University of North Dakota. His last work for Quorum Books was Law and Economic Regulation in Transportation (with Paul Stephen Dempsey) (1986).

FRANK J. DOOLEY is Research Economist in the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University.

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