Future Trends in Aviation Labor Law
Labor and management share a vital interest in the welfare of their common enterprise. As aviation enters the era of the hypersonic transport, attention is focused on how the creaky old Railway Labor Act can adapt to the second century of aviation. In this chapter, some of the recent challenges and issues facing labor and management in the aviation industry will be considered.
Drug abuse has not been considered to be a particularly serious problem among pilots. Airlines traditionally have enforced Rule G, forbidding the consumption of alcohol and intoxicating drugs by employees subject to duty. On January 4, 1987, a severe crash occurred on Amtrak in Maryland in which drugs were involved. This compelled the Department of Transportation to implement testing procedures in various transportation-related industries, including aviation.
On December 21, 1989, a program of mandatory drug testing for transportation employees was announced by Secretary of Transportation Samuel Skinner. Implementation of random testing was halted by a federal district court injunction brought by employees of motor carriers.
The first of the following cases deals with the application of drug tests to railroad employees. Unlike pilots, railroad engineers are unlicensed by any state or federal agency. It is one of the few profes-