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

By William E. Thoms ; Frank J. Dooley | Go to book overview
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Why Airline Labor Law Is Different
Airline pilots' job responsibilities, training, and salary levels are comparable to other professionals. On the face of things, pilots seem to be very different from the typical unionized worker. Yet, most pilots and other aviation professionals are union members.A labor-intensive industry, airlines are dependent on unionized pilots and other highly trained professionals to keep their planes flying and their customers satisfied. Airlines, like most of the mature industries in the United States, are heavily unionized. U.S. and Canadian airlines regularly and continually bargain with labor unions over the working conditions of their employees.Deregulation of the commercial aviation industry took place with the passage of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. 1 However, the industry still is charged with a public interest and is heavily supervised by the government. For example,
international air transportation is still subject to regulation by the Department of Transportation (DOT) with bilateral agreements with foreign nations under the advisement of the State Department;
only U.S. citizens or corporations are allowed to operate domestic airline service within the United States;
pilotage is very much a regulated profession. Commercial multi-engine jet certificates are required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA);
aircraft must be certified as airworthy by the FAA, both by type and by individual plane;

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