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Chorbajian v. Civil Aeronautics Board
decided: January 16, 1956.
PAUL CHORBAJIAN, AS PRESIDENT AND ON BEHALF OF AOA CHAPTER, FLIGHT ENGINEERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, A.F.L. AND ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHER FLIGHT ENGINEERS OF SAID UNION SIMILARLY SITUATED, PETITIONER,
CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD, RESPONDENT.
Before CLARK, Chief Judge, and MEDINA and WATERMAN, Circuit Judges.
This is a petition to review an order of the Civil Aeronautics Board arising out of the North Atlantic Route Transfer Case, in which the Board authorized Pan American Airways, Inc. (PAA) to acquire the assets and routes of American Overseas Airlines, Inc. (AOA).*fn1 Petitioners, AOA flight engineers, contend that they are entitled to compensation,*fn2 either through Board action compelling compensation or through an award by a referee of the National Mediation Board, for PAA's failure to comply with an interim order of the Board directing that promotions subsequent to the merger be on a ratio basis.
The petitioners attack the Board's interpretation of the meaning and present status of the interim order as arbitrary and erroneous, and contend that the Board has abused its discretion in failing to "enforce" the interim order against PAA or to take other action to compel a monetary award by the carrier.
In substance the Board held that its interim order did not provide for compensation to the AOA engineers for any failure on the part of PAA to make promotions in accordance with its terms, and that the only sanctions against such violations available to the Board would have been actions to compel PAA to promote the AOA engineers while the order was in force. Neither the interim order nor any of the other orders relating to seniority provided for compensation to employees adversely affected by violations of the orders by PAA. The only compensation provided by the Board's orders was to dismissed or displaced employees. Further, the Board's interpretation of its order is that it did not intend to provide compensation enforceable by the Board for failure to promote. Since this interpretation accords with the literal language of the orders, and is not unreasonable, and is made by the agency entering the orders, the interpretation is controlling here. Danielson v. Civil Aeronautics Board, 2 Cir., 1953, 204 F.2d 266, 268. The fact that the interim order made provisions for settlement of disputes through referral to a National Mediation Board referee does not establish that monetary compensation was intended for lack of promotion, since factual disputes relating to specific performance of the order and unrelated to monetary demands might well arise which could be settled by the referee. Petitioner's claim that the Board should now "enforce" its order against PAA is subject to the same objection, since that claim necessarily rests upon the view that the order provides for monetary compensation to be paid to one damaged by its violation.*fn3
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