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AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC. v. TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION

March 31, 1980

AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO ("TWU"); WILLIAM G. LINDNER, individually and as International President of TWU; ERNEST M. MITCHELL, individually and as International Vice President and Director, Air Transport Division of TWU; HERMAN J. LEONARD, individually and as International Vice President and Assistant Director, Air Transport Division of TWU; ROOSEVELT WATTS, individually and as International Secretary-Treasurer of TWU; LOCAL 501, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 501") and PATRICK J. McGAHAN, individually and as President of Local 501; LOCAL 502, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 502") and HOWARD W. BLAYDES, individually and as President of Local 502; LOCAL 505, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 505") and NORMAN ALLSHOUSE, individually and as President of Local 505; LOCAL 507, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 507") and JOHN D. FORTUNE, individually and as President of Local 507; LOCAL 510, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 510") and RICHARD DAWSON, individually and as President of Local 510; LOCAL 512, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 512") and CLARENCE EDWARDS, individually and as President of Local 512; LOCAL 513, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 513") and JAMES JACKSON, individually and as President of Local 513; LOCAL 514, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 514") and ROBERT J. RIDGE, individually and as President of Local 514; LOCAL 519, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 519") and FRANK PALUMBO, individually and as President of Local 519; LOCAL 521, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 521") and JOHN PERDUE, individually and as President of Local 521; LOCAL 527, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 527") and CELESTE P. CONROY, individually and as President of Local 527; LOCAL 540, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 540") and E. F. DOWNEY, individually and as President of Local 540; LOCAL 541, TWU, AFL-CIO ("Local 541") and TRENT W. BARBER, individually and as President of Local 541; and each of said individuals as representatives of a class consisting of all of plaintiff's employees represented by TWU for purposes of collective bargaining under the Railway Labor Act, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LA PLATT

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, American Airlines ("American"), seeks a preliminary injunction enjoining defendants, the Transport Workers Union of America ("TWU"), their officers, agents and employees "from in any manner or by any means, directing, calling, causing, authorizing, inducing, instigating, conducting, continuing, engaging or threatening any strike, picketing or other concerted slowdown or work stoppage, picketing or concerted refusal to report for work or to accept or perform work assignments or any other work stoppage . . . ." American initiated the action by filing a complaint and an order to show cause which contained a temporary restraining order and was signed by Judge Edward R. Neaher at 10:20 p.m. on the 15th of January. Over 12,000 American employees are represented by the TWU.

 FACTS

 The facts relating to this and a companion case, Scott et ano. v. American Airlines Inc., docket number 80 C-0176, are essentially the same. One Lori Fahs, designated by the TWU as President of Local 543 of the TWU in Dallas, Texas, was issued a C-314 disciplinary notice for wearing a TWU button while working as a freight agent, in uniform, for American. Ms. Fahs was suspended for one day and was informed repetition of such behavior would lead to further disciplinary action. Evidently, Ms. Fahs was wearing the button to support TWU's organizing *fn1" drive among the agents to win recognition of TWU as the bargaining representative of the agents. On January 15, 1980 TWU-represented employees engaged in a system-wide work stoppage, or a so-called "sympathy-strike" in support of Ms. Fahs and Local 543's organizational efforts. *fn2"

 American's "Uniform Regulations" provide that "unspecified variations or additions to the uniform are prohibited." It is plaintiff's position that wearing the TWU button was an unauthorized "variation or addition." Moreover, plaintiff contends the "real purpose" of the TWU work stoppage was

 
"(1) to pressure American into agreeing with TWU at the bargaining table *fn3" to recognize TWU as the representative of the presently unrepresented Agent and Clerical employees, without resort to the procedures provided by the Railway Labor Act ("RLA") for certification of collective bargaining representatives, and (2) to serve as an opening wedge in the scheduled contract negotiations with respect to changes in the rates of pay, rules, and working conditions of the employees currently represented by the TWU."
 
Plaintiff further asserts that the central purpose of the RLA is to prevent interruptions in commerce and the operations of carriers, and that the Act prohibits work stoppages in order to avoid the statutory procedures for determining whether and by whom carrier employees wish to be represented.
 
In lieu of cross-motions, which defendant indicated at oral argument would be forthcoming, the companion case, Scott v. American, supra, was filed. The gravamen of that complaint seeks to preclude American from enforcing any rule prohibiting employees from wearing TWU buttons, pins, or insignia. Specifically, TWU avers that § 2 (Third) of the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 152 (Third), prohibits interference with the wearing of union insignia during organizational activity. *fn4"
 
In this action, plaintiff American sought and received, a continuation of the injunction which had been temporarily imposed by the Court, pending determination of the issues we address here.
 
DISCUSSION
 
I
 
We are met at the threshold with the issue of this Court's power to issue an injunction in a labor dispute such as this. Defendant TWU argues we are precluded from ordering injunctive relief by the authority of Buffalo Forge Co. v. United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO, 428 U.S. 397, 96 S. Ct. 3141, 49 L. Ed. 2d 1022 (1976). Plaintiff American argues that Buffalo Forge is inapposite here, and that the overriding policy of the RLA requires mandatory "minor dispute" resolution procedures which should first be pursued before judicial resolutions are sought.
 
The Taft-Hartley Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 141-187 enacted in 1947, amended the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, 29 U.S.C. §§ 151-167 (1970 & Supp. V 1975), to provide federal district courts jurisdiction over suits arising from alleged violations of collective bargaining agreements. However, enforcing collective bargaining agreements required invocation of injunctive relief a method prohibited by § 4 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 101-115. The Supreme Court held in Boys Markets, Inc. v. Retail Clerks Local 770, 398 U.S. 235, 90 S. Ct. 1583, 26 L. Ed. 2d 199 (1970), in an attempt to reconcile the two statutes, that:
 
The unavailability of equitable relief in the arbitration context presents a serious impediment to the congressional policy favoring the voluntary establishment of a mechanism for the peaceful resolution of labor disputes, that the core purpose of the Norris-LaGuardia Act is not sacrificed by the limited use of equitable remedies to further this important policy, and consequently that the Norris-LaGuardia Act does not bar the ...

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