Atlas Air, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, August Term 2018

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
Writing for the CourtChin, Circuit Judge
Citation943 F.3d 568
Parties ATLAS AIR, INC., Southern Air, Inc., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, Airline Professionals Association of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union No. 1224, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division, Defendants-Appellants.
Decision Date21 November 2019
Docket NumberAugust Term 2018,Docket No. 18-1086

943 F.3d 568

ATLAS AIR, INC., Southern Air, Inc., Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, Airline Professionals Association of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union No. 1224, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division, Defendants-Appellants.

August Term 2018
Docket No. 18-1086

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

Argued: May 3, 2019
Decided: November 21, 2019


Edward Gleason (Franklin K. Moss, on the brief), Law Office of Edward Gleason PLLC, Washington, DC, and Spivak Lipton LLP, New York, New York, for Defendants-Appellants.

Robert A. Siegel (Michael G. McGuinness and Sloane Ackerman, on the brief), O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Los Angeles, California and New York, New York, for Plaintiffs-Appellees.

Before: Kearse, Wesley, and Chin, Circuit Judges.

Chin, Circuit Judge:

This labor relations case arises from the merger of two commercial airlines, plaintiffs-appellees Atlas Air, Inc. ("Atlas") and Southern Air, Inc. ("Southern") (together, the "Employers"). The Atlas and Southern pilots are represented by defendants-appellants International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("IBT"), International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division ("IBTAD"), and Airline Professionals Association of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union No. 1224 ("Local 1224") (collectively, the "Union"). Following the announcement of the merger, disagreements arose as to the integration of the respective employees and operations, whether the Union was required to negotiate a new joint collective bargaining agreement ("JCBA") to cover both sets of pilots, and whether the disagreements were to be resolved in arbitration or before the National Mediation Board (the "NMB").

After the parties failed to resolve their controversies, the Employers commenced this action below to compel arbitration of the management grievances. The district court granted the Employers’ motion for summary judgment and to compel arbitration and denied the Union’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, we hold that the district court properly granted the Employers’ motion for summary judgment and to compel arbitration. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is affirmed.

943 F.3d 573

BACKGROUND

I. The Facts

A. Labor Relations in the Airline Industry

The Railway Labor Act (the "RLA"), 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq ., regulates labor relations in the airline industry. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. v. Norris , 512 U.S. 246, 248, 114 S.Ct. 2239, 129 L.Ed.2d 203 (1994) (citing 45 U.S.C. §§ 181 - 188 ). The purpose of the RLA is to prevent service interruptions in the transportation industries by encouraging labor peace and avoiding strikes. See, e.g. , CSX Transp., Inc. v. United Transp. Union , 879 F.2d 990, 995 (2d Cir. 1989) (citing 45 U.S.C. § 151a and Detroit & Toledo Shore Line R.R. v. UTU , 396 U.S. 142, 148, 90 S.Ct. 294, 24 L.Ed.2d 325 (1969) ). The courts’ role in "enforcing substantive obligations under the RLA is circumscribed by its unique history and dispute-resolution framework," and the statute sets forth "a unique blend of moral and legal duties looking toward settlement through conciliation, mediation, voluntary arbitration, presidential intervention, and, finally, in case of ultimate failure of the statutory machinery, resort to traditional self-help measures." Air Line Pilots Ass'n, Int'l v. Tex. Int'l Airlines, Inc ., 656 F.2d 16, 19-20 (2d Cir. 1981) (internal quotation marks omitted).

The RLA’s dispute resolution mechanisms include mediation before the NMB and binding arbitration before "adjustment boards." CSX Transp. , 879 F.2d at 995-97 ; accord W. Airlines, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters , 480 U.S. 1301, 1302, 107 S.Ct. 1515, 94 L.Ed.2d 744 (1987). Adjustment boards are panels consisting of designated representatives of the carrier and employees that resolve disputes arising under existing contracts between labor groups and employers. See Int'l Ass'n of Machinists v. Cent. Airlines, Inc ., 372 U.S. 682, 686, 83 S.Ct. 956, 10 L.Ed.2d 67 (1963) ; Ollman v. Special Bd. of Adjustment No. 1063 , 527 F.3d 239, 246 (2d Cir. 2008). As explained more fully below, the mechanism that the parties must use to resolve a controversy depends on the type of dispute between the parties, i.e ., whether the dispute is a "major," "minor," or "representation" dispute. See CSX Transp ., 879 F.2d at 995-98 ; Air Line Pilots Ass'n, 656 F.2d at 20 n.6. Major and representation disputes fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the NMB, while minor disputes must be arbitrated before an adjustment board. See CSX Transp ., 879 F.2d at 995-98 ; Air Line Pilots Ass'n , 656 F.2d at 20 n.6.

B. The Parties

Atlas is a commercial air carrier and wholly owned subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. ("AAWH"). Atlas is party to a collective bargaining agreement (the "Atlas CBA") that governs the pay, rules, and working conditions of the Atlas pilots. The Atlas CBA also covers another AAWH subsidiary, Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, Inc. ("Polar"), which is not a party to this action. The Atlas CBA became effective on September 8, 2011 and became amendable -- or open for further negotiation -- on September 8, 2016.

In April 2016, AAWH acquired Southern Air Holdings, Inc., the parent of Southern, making Southern a subsidiary of AAWH. Southern is party to a collective bargaining agreement (the "Southern CBA") that governs the pay, rules, and working conditions of the Southern pilots. The Southern CBA became effective on November 6, 2012 and amendable on November 6, 2016.

IBT is the certified collective bargaining representative of the Atlas and Southern pilots under the RLA. IBTAD is a party to both the Atlas CBA and the Southern

943 F.3d 574

CBA. IBTAD, through IBT, has designated Local 1224 as the local collective bargaining agent for the Atlas and Southern pilots.

C. The Collective Bargaining Agreements

1. Atlas

The Atlas CBA recognizes Atlas and Polar as "a single Air Carrier collectively referred to as the ‘Company.’ " J. App’x at 38. Pursuant to a 2011 arbitration award, AAWH is not subject to the Atlas CBA’s "scope provisions," which relate to the scope of covered work, job security, and labor protections in the event of certain corporate transactions. Under the Atlas CBA, the parties’ obligation to "merge the two pre-integration collective bargaining agreements into one agreement," id. at 44-45 (Section 1.F.b.iii), that is, to negotiate a JCBA, is triggered by the following conditions:

(i) the Company acquires another air carrier and the Company decides there will be a complete operational merger between the Company and such other air carrier, or if the Company notifies the Union of its intent to integrate the Crewmember seniority lists of the respective carriers, or (ii) in the event the Company decides there will be a complete operational merger between the Company and an affiliated air carrier, or if the Company notifies the Union of its intent to integrate the Crewmember seniority lists of the Company and an affiliated air carrier ... [and] the crewmembers of the acquired carrier are represented by the Union.

Id. at 43-44 (Section 1.F.2).

The parties have nine months to execute a JCBA from the date the Union presents the Company with a merged seniority list. If the parties are unable to agree on the terms of a JCBA, the parties must submit the outstanding issues to binding interest arbitration within thirty days of the conclusion of negotiations contemplated by the Atlas CBA.

Section 21 of the Atlas CBA provides that the System Board of Adjustments (the "Atlas Board") "shall have jurisdiction over all disputes between ... the Company and the Union, growing out of the interpretation or application of any of the terms" of the Atlas CBA. Id. at 24. In addition, Section 1.H.1 of the Atlas CBA states that "[a]ny grievance filed by the Company or Union alleging a violation of Section 1 shall bypass the initial steps of the grievance process and shall be submitted, heard, and resolved through binding arbitration on an expedited basis directly before the [Atlas Board]." Id. at 46.

2. Southern

The Southern CBA provides that

[i]n the event of a merger between the Company and any other company or business that employ crewmembers of aircraft, there shall be an integration of the two crewmember groups .... A "merger" as used in this Section, shall refer to a transaction in which the functional departments of the Company (e.g., operations, marketing, finance, human resources, etc.) are integrated with those of another certificated air carrier employing crewmembers ....

In the event of a merger, this Agreement shall be merged with the merging air carrier’s crewmember collective bargaining agreement, if any; if such merged agreement is not completed within nine (9) months from the date an integrated Master Seniority List is submitted to the surviving entity, the parties shall submit all outstanding issues to
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  • Bissonnette ex rel. Situated v. Lepage Bakeries Park St., LLC, 20-1681
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 5 May 2022
    ...L.Ed.2d 373 (2000).III We review de novo the district court's order compelling arbitration. Atlas Air, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 943 F.3d 568, 577 (2d Cir. 2019).The Arbitration Agreement, which provides for arbitration "under the Federal Arbitration Act," elsewhere provides that it ......
  • Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters v. Atlas Air, Inc., Case No. 19-cv-2723 (CRC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 28 January 2020
    ...F. Supp. 3d 457 (S.D.N.Y. 2018), which was affirmed by the Second Circuit in November 2019, Atlas Air, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 943 F.3d 568 (2d Cir. 2019).The Atlas System Board of Arbitration (the "Board") heard the Atlas Grievance in October 2018. Compl. ¶ 27. In August 2019, Cha......
  • Bumpus v. Airline Pilots Ass'n, 21 CV 5557
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • 10 June 2022
    ...he had only six months from accrual of his claim to compel arbitration. [18-15] at 2 (citing Atlas Air, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 943 F.3d 568 (2d Cir. 2019)). In light of that decision, plaintiff said, he needed a panel hearing no later than November 10, 2021. [18-15] at 2, 4. Pedat......
  • Jingrong v. Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance Inc., Docket No. 18-2626
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 14 October 2021
    ...for summary judgment and the district court granted one motion but denied the other." Atlas Air, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters , 943 F.3d 568, 576-77 (2d Cir. 2019). "[W]e evaluate each party's motion on its own merits, taking care in each instance to draw all reasonable inferences agains......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • Bissonnette ex rel. Situated v. Lepage Bakeries Park St., LLC, 20-1681
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 5 May 2022
    ...L.Ed.2d 373 (2000).III We review de novo the district court's order compelling arbitration. Atlas Air, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 943 F.3d 568, 577 (2d Cir. 2019).The Arbitration Agreement, which provides for arbitration "under the Federal Arbitration Act," elsewhere provides that it ......
  • Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters v. Atlas Air, Inc., Case No. 19-cv-2723 (CRC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 28 January 2020
    ...F. Supp. 3d 457 (S.D.N.Y. 2018), which was affirmed by the Second Circuit in November 2019, Atlas Air, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 943 F.3d 568 (2d Cir. 2019).The Atlas System Board of Arbitration (the "Board") heard the Atlas Grievance in October 2018. Compl. ¶ 27. In August 2019, Cha......
  • Bumpus v. Airline Pilots Ass'n, 21 CV 5557
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • 10 June 2022
    ...he had only six months from accrual of his claim to compel arbitration. [18-15] at 2 (citing Atlas Air, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 943 F.3d 568 (2d Cir. 2019)). In light of that decision, plaintiff said, he needed a panel hearing no later than November 10, 2021. [18-15] at 2, 4. Pedat......
  • Jingrong v. Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance Inc., Docket No. 18-2626
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 14 October 2021
    ...for summary judgment and the district court granted one motion but denied the other." Atlas Air, Inc. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters , 943 F.3d 568, 576-77 (2d Cir. 2019). "[W]e evaluate each party's motion on its own merits, taking care in each instance to draw all reasonable inferences agains......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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