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United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
September 19, 2011, Argued; December 16, 2011, Decided
No. 10-5253 Consolidated with 10-5254, 10-5255
[*477] [**315] Tatel, Circuit Judge: The Railway Labor Act provides that ] "[t]he majority of any [***2] craft or class of employees shall have the right to determine who shall be the representative of the craft or class." 45 U.S.C. § 152, Fourth. For seventy-five years, the National Mediation Board counted non-voters as voting against union representation, thereby requiring a majority of eligible voters to affirmatively vote for representation before a union could be certified. In 2010, the Board issued a new rule: elections will henceforth be decided by a majority of votes cast, and those not voting will be understood as acquiescing to the outcome of the election. Appellants challenge the new rule, claiming that it violates the statute and is arbitrary and capricious. Rejecting these arguments, the district court granted summary judgment to the [*478] [**316] Board. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we agree and affirm.
] Labor relations in the railroad and airline industries are governed by the Railway Labor Act. See 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. Passed in 1926 and amended several times since, the Act seeks to avoid strikes by encouraging bargaining, arbitration, and mediation. Its goal is to "avoid any interruption to commerce," 45 U.S.C. § 151a, while protecting the right of workers to "organize [***3] and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing," 45 U.S.C. § 152, Fourth. See generally 45 U.S.C. § 151a (describing the "[g]eneral purposes" of the Act).
The Railway Labor Act has little to say about how employees are to choose their representatives. In section 2, Fourth, the Act provides that "[t]he majority of any craft or class of employees shall have the right to determine who shall be the representative of the craft or class." 45 U.S.C. § 152, Fourth. ] The statute also established the National Mediation Board, 45 U.S.C. § 154, assigning it the task of recognizing and certifying the chosen representative, 45 U.S.C. § 152, Ninth. ] "In the conduct of any election[,] . . . the Board shall designate who may participate in the election and establish the rules to govern the election[.]" Id. ] If there are "any dispute[s] . . . as to who are the representatives of such employees," the Board must investigate. Id.
Until the rulemaking at issue in this case, the only way employees could vote against union representation was by not voting at all. For example, a ballot might present the option of voting for union A, union B, or union C, and those preferring no union representation [***4] would simply abstain. Whichever candidate received a majority of the votes would become the elected representative unless, of course, a majority of voters abstained.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
663 F.3d 476 *; 398 U.S. App. D.C. 314 **; 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 24876 ***; 192 L.R.R.M. 2321; 161 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P10,431
AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, INC., APPELLANT v. NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD, ET AL., APPELLEES
Prior History: [***1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:10-cv-00804).
Air Transp. Ass'n of Am., Inc. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 719 F. Supp. 2d 26, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64408 (D.D.C., 2010)
election, craft, voting, new rule, employees, district court, cast, abstain, railway labor, quotation, majority of the votes, old rule, decertification, marks, eligible voter, participating, indifferent, Mediation, straw man, certification, discovery, stability, declares, eligible, reasons, non-voters, rulemaking, run-off, arbitrary and capricious, hypothetical
Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Bargaining Units, Transportation Law, Rail Transportation, Personnel, General Overview, Right to Organize, Air & Space Transportation, Labor Arbitration, Arbitrators, Authority, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Deference to Agency Statutory Interpretation, Agency Rulemaking, Rule Application & Interpretation, Rule Interpretation, Arbitrary & Capricious Standard of Review, Civil Procedure, Appeals, De Novo Review, Summary Judgment, Opposing Materials, Motions for Additional Discovery, Abuse of Discretion, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection, Administrative Record, Disclosure & Discovery, Discovery & Disclosure, Evidence, Presumptions, Particular Presumptions, Regularity, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Freedoms, Freedom of Association, Unfair Labor Practices, Employer Violations, Organizing & Voting Interference