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SCOTT v. AMERICAN AIRLINES

April 15, 1980

MARIE SCOTT, individually and as Acting President, Transport Workers Union of America, Local 544, and LORI FAHS, individually and as Acting President, Transport Workers Union of America, Local 543, Plaintiffs, against AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PLATT

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Plaintiffs, Marie Scott, ticket lift agent, and Lori Fahs, freight agent, employees of the defendant, seek a preliminary injunction restraining the defendant, its officers, agents and employees (i) from in any manner or by any means directing the plaintiffs to refrain from wearing an insignia, pin or button containing a TWU logo on their clothing, including any uniform they may be required to wear by defendant and (ii) from discharging or in any other way disciplining or threatening to discharge or discipline them because of their wearing of any such insignia during working hours on the property of the defendant and requiring defendant to issue and post notices of such injunction. The return date of their initial motion was February 22, 1980, at which time it was agreed to hold a hearing as soon thereafter as might be possible consistent with the Court's and the attorneys calendars.

 Accordingly, a hearing was held on the morning of March 5th at which time testimony was taken from the plaintiffs and from Charles A. Pasciuto, defendant's Vice President of Employee Relations. The parties also offered in evidence the testimony taken from Edward P. Donovan, defendant's Manager of Personnel in New York, Hugh T. Molloy, an employee representative for the defendant, the said Charles A. Pasciuto, and Ernest Mitchell, Director of the Air Transport Division of the Air Transport Worker's Union and Vice President of the International Union in the related case entitled American Airlines v. Transport Workers Union, et al., CV-80-0101 (E.D.N.Y.).

 Ms. Scott testified that she is presently a ticket lift agent in the employ of the defendant at the Metropolitan Airport in Detroit, Michigan, and that she is in her 27th year as an employee of the defendant. Her present position requires her to provide passenger services at the various departure gates of the defendant, including selling of tickets, issuing boarding passes, taking tickets and dispatching the aircraft. Ms. Scott has won numerous commendations, certificates and awards, including three watches for excellence in passenger service and has never been subjected to disciplinary action until the incidents which are involved in this case.

 In August of 1979 Ms. Scott signed a membership card and became a member of the Transport Workers Union of America ("TWU"), Local 544, and was later designated acting president of that Local pending certification or recognition pursuant to the Railway Labor Act ("RLA"). Thereafter, she joined the campaign to gain from the defendant recognition of the TWU as the collective bargaining representative of the agent craft of its employees. Ms. Scott attended an organizational union meeting in October of 1979 in Dallas, Texas, at which meeting TWU pins *fn1" were distributed and she started wearing the same on her uniform to let everyone know that she was supporting the TWU and to encourage them to join the union.

 In November of 1979, Ms. Scott was questioned by her Group Supervisor, Paul Mason, about the TWU pin and was advised to remove the same because it was unauthorized. She did so.

 Ms. Scott returned from a vacation on January 13, 1980, and two days later, following her late return from a lunch, she was stopped by Mr. Mason and directed to remove her pin. Later in that day, i. e., January 15th, she was directed to appear in the office of Mr. Hayes Jones, Manager of Passenger Service, and after a disagreement about her authorization to return late from lunch, she returned to Mr. Jones' office with Mr. Bill Casper, President of TWU Local 521 at which time Mr. Jones instructed her not to put the pin back on and Mr. Casper expressed his opinion that she had the right to wear the same.

 On January 16, 1980, Ms. Scott returned to work wearing several different non-union pins and buttons, as well as her TWU pin. Mr. Mason, who noticed the same earlier in the day, summoned her to his office with a Mr. Stan Sims and they advised her that they had reviewed company policy and directed her again to remove the TWU pin. Mr. Mason repeated these directions in the presence of Mr. Cutting, a union representative.

 On Thursday, January 17, 1980, Mr. Jones was waiting for Ms. Scott at 7:30 a.m. when she arrived at the time clock. She again was wearing numerous pins and buttons on her uniform and Mr. Jones said he wanted to speak to her in his office. When they arrived there Mr. Jack London, another supervisor, was also present and Ms. Scott asked whether she could bring someone into the meeting. Mr. Jones directed her to remove her union pin. Ms. Scott asked why and he replied because he was telling her to do so.

 Approximately 1:30 p.m. Mr. Mason sent for Ms. Scott and she persuaded Mr. Cutting to go with her but he was refused entrance into Mr. Mason's office by Mr. Jones. When Ms. Scott complained that she needed a witness, Mr. Jones left the office and Mr. Mason handed her a paper instructing her to "remove the unauthorized button or pin, and if she failed to do so, you are instructed to leave the company premises immediately. If you leave, you will not be paid for the time away." (Ex. "E"). Mr. Mason then handed her a form C-314 citing her for insubordination which bore the date of January 18, 1980, Mr. Mason subsequently gave her another disciplinary form bearing the date of January 17th.

 Thereafter, Ms. Scott went on an "overage leave" on which she remained at the time of the hearing.

 Ms. Scott returned to the airport on January 23d, 28th, 30th and 31st and was directed on the second and third occasions to leave the premises and on the last occasion was given a note from Mr. Mason directing her to stay off the premises.

 On cross-examination Ms. Scott admitted that her wearing of the union pin caused others to engage in conversations with her with respect to the pros and cons of joining the TWU and the number and frequency of these conferences increased after she started to wear the pin.

 Plaintiff Lori Fahs testified that she had been a freight agent in the employ of the defendant for thirteen years; that she had become interested in securing recognition for the TWU prior to July of 1979; that she started wearing a union pin in November ...


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