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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The Secretary was empowered to require air carriers to file the necessary information to provide this assistance.

In sum, the Supreme Court in Alaska Airlines stated that a legislative-veto provision is unconstitutional. The court stressed that the remaining EPP is deemed ineffective if the legislative-veto clause was not severable. However, the Court reasoned that the legislative history of the EPP supported the conclusion that Congress would have enacted the duty-to-hire provisions even without legislative-veto provisions. Thus, Congress regarded labor protection as an important feature of the ADA. In conclusion, the Supreme Court held that the legislative-veto clause was severable from the remainder of the EPP.


SUMMARY

There is no doubt that deregulation has affected the employees of major interstate air carriers. These employees were once protected by the rules and regulations of the CAB, which gave them job security, benefits, and predictable working conditions. With deregulation, many of the employee protections unique to the airline industry have disappeared. While some labor-protection provisions were carried forward by the ADA, certain protections such as the "duty to hire" have only been imposed upon carriers for a limited time. The framework for the monthly compensation program for terminated or furloughed workers still exists. However, to date, no funds have ever been appropriated and the assistance program has never become operative. 78

Recent Department of Transportation (DOT) orders have set new strict policies regarding the imposition of labor-protective provisions on airline mergers and acquisitions. The DOT will not impose the provisions unless (1) the stability of the national air transportation system is threatened, or (2) special circumstances exist that require protective provisions to encourage fair and equitable working conditions.

Satisfying either one of these requirements appears to be difficult. The DOT found that even a labor strike against Eastern, one of the largest air carriers in the country, would not pose a threat to the national airline transportation system. The second requirement appears to be equally difficult to meet. The burden of proof is on the labor party to show that inequitable working conditions and wages exist. Furthermore, the DOT also factors in the airline's financial and

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