SW Legal studies in Business

Concerted Effort to Refuse Voluntary Overtime Work Is Not a Strike
Description Appeals court held that it was not an illegal strike for a pilot's union to request all pilots not to bid on flying overtime for the company as a way to pressure the company to settle grievances about other matters. Such concerted action is not an illegal strike that would have violated the collective bargaining agreement.
Topic Labor Law
Key Words Concerted Action; Impermissible Strike
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Airborne Express (ABX) is a major air freight carrier. Under its collective bargaining agreement, pilots voluntarily bid for open-flying times not covered in the regular monthly schedule. Such flights, which earn extra pay, are awarded to crews on the basis of seniority. The union and ABX were contesting the interpretation of certain provision of the bargaining agreement. In an effort to force the company to resolve matters satisfactorily, the union asked all pilots not to bid on open-flying times to keep pressure on the company. Of the 617 open-flying times available the next month, only 13 were bid on; those pilots reported being harassed by other union members. ABX claims it lost several large jobs due to the lack of pilots and filed a complaint against the union for an illegal strike. The district court held that this was an illegal strike. While it denied monetary damages to the company, the court held that it could enjoin the union in the future. The union appealed.
Decision

Reversed. The union's concerted action did not constitute an illegal strike. The union promoted the concerted action as a way to pressure ABX to resolve various disputes between the parties on other matters. This did not rise to the level of a strike, which is "concerted interruptions of operations by employees." ABX did not show that it suffered sufficient economic harm to cause an interruption of operations.

Citation ABX Air, Inc. v. Airline Professionals Assn., 2001 WL 1090293 (6th Cir., 2001)

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