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Airline Industry Unions

Lubin & Enoch, P.C. represents a number of labor organizations in the airline industry in matters arising under the Railway Labor Act of 1926 ("RLA"), 45 U.S.C. § 151, et seq. and/or the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 ("LMRDA"), 29 U.S.C. § 401, et seq. For example, our attorneys represent some of the largest unions for pilots (airline and commercial helicopter), flight attendants, mechanics, and fleet-service workers.

Representative Engagements

  • Achieved a number of defense judgments on behalf of airline pilots' and mechanics’ unions in lawsuits alleging a breach of the union’s duty of fair representation.
  • Represented airline pilot union in a public hearing before the National Transportation Safety Board in a matter involving a fatal plane accident in Illinois.
  • Successfully challenged, on First Amendment grounds, a city ordinance aimed at curbing, inter alia, the ability of an airline mechanic union to picket a hometown airline near the site of the Super Bowl.
  • Represented airline pilots in their effort to form a labor organization at their particular "carrier".
  • Successfully represented airline pilot union in repeated investigations and inquiries by the U.S. Department of Labor addressing union’s and union officers’ finances and election practices.
  • Counseled union of fleet service workers through the extremely complex process of an airline merger and the attendant confusion that results from having two labor organizations vying to be the successor labor organization for the combined craft.
  • Achieved the voluntary dismissal of a state court defamation lawsuit brought by a carrier against an employee and member of a flight attendant union based on comments made by her during a television interview in the course of a union picket outside of a large airport.

Briefed and argued many federal and state matters including, inter alia:

  • Addington v. US Airline Pilots Ass’n, 588 F. Supp. 2d 1051 (D. Ariz. 2008), reversed, 606 F.3d 1174 (9th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 189 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 3120 (2011) (finding that DFR claim against newly-certified union representing the pilots of a newly merged airline was not ripe on the grounds that it was speculative that a single collective bargaining agreement incorporating the old union’s seniority plan would be ratified if presented to the union’s membership).
  • Hoffman v. Kramer, 185 F.Supp.2d 700 (S.D. Tex. 2002), affirmed, 362 F.3d 308 (5th Cir. 2004) (successfully argued that an airline pilot union officers’ routine operating decisions and details of internal office administration, including decision to pay for employee's graduate studies, giving employees extra time off, shredding union documents, alleged poor attendance, and sloth, and sending letters to union members instead of using union newsletter, did not breach fiduciary duties so as to provide good cause for suit by union member under LMRDA).
  • McDonnell v. Southwest Airlines Co., 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 19852 (9th Cir. 2008) (successfully defeated attempt by the Tribune Company to unseal court records containing highly sensitive post accident safety surveys developed by airline pilot union and completed by its membership).
  • Butler v. FAA, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 20342 (D.C. Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 544 U.S. 1027 (2005) (as amicus curiae) (argued, albeit unsuccessfully, that airline pilots who are licensed and certified, but over the age 60, should be granted an exemption by the FAA from the "Age 60 Rule").
  • Perez v. Southwest Airlines, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31120 (D. Ariz. 2008) (successfully achieved the dismissal of lawsuit brought by airline mechanic against his own union).
  • Sorensen v. PHI, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92894 (W.D. La. 2007) (achieved favorable resolution in a matter alleging that carrier used alleged strike-related misconduct as a pretext for unlawfully terminating two helicopter pilots in retaliation for their protected, concerted union activity under Section 2 Fourth of the RLA).
  • National Mediation Board, 18 NMB 140 (1991) (successfully prevented an air carrier from its effort to force the NMB to allow non-eligible voters to vote in a representation).

"The Courtrooms of America all too often have Piper Cub advocates trying to handle the controls of Boeing 747 litigation."

Warren Burger, Supreme Court Justice