U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Section 204 of the Railway Labor Act Permits, Not Requires, A Board Adjustment

In Air Line Pilots Ass'n v. US Airways Group, No. 09-2083, the Fourth Circut faced a challenge to the district court's dismissal of the complaint in an airline pilots union's suit to establish and arbitrate before a multi-employer, multi-union board of adjustment.

Section 204 of the Railway Labor Act (RLA) states: "The disputes between an employee or group of employees and a carrier or carriers by air growing out of grievances, or out of the interpretation or application of agreements concerning rates of pay, rules, or working conditions...may be referred by petition of the parties or by either party to an appropriate adjustment board, as hereinafter provided...It shall be the duty of every carrier and of its employees...to establish a board of adjustment...Such boards of adjustment may be established by agreement..."

Thus, in affirming the dismissal, the court held that plaintiff's claim is foreclosed by the plain language of section 204 of the RLA, which permits but does not require such a board adjustment, and plaintiff's alternative state law claim is meritless.   

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