ASI v. IBT

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 01-10-2014
  • Case #: 12-36026
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge N.R. Smith for the Court; Circuit Judges Kleinfeld and M. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

Section 152 First of the Railway Labor Act, requiring transportation industry employees to “engage in the Act’s labor dispute resolution procedures before ceasing to perform their work,” applies to all transportation industry employees and is not a violation of the free speech rights afforded by the First Amendment.

Aircraft Services International (“ASI”) appealed a preliminary injunction enjoining ASI employees (International Brotherhood of Teamsters AFL CIO Local 117) from striking as a violation of the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”). ASI provides aircraft services at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. After ASI indefinitely suspended an employee, ASI employees decided to organize a strike to protest the suspension. ASI filed suit to enjoin the employees from striking. They claimed that the strike was a violation of the RLA, which requires all employees to “engage in the Act’s labor dispute resolution procedures before ceasing to perform their work.” The district court granted the preliminary injunction. The ASI employees advanced several arguments, including that the RLA provision did not apply to them because they were not unionized and that it violated their First Amendment free speech rights. The Ninth Circuit rejected these arguments, holding that the provision was not “mere policy” and includes all transportation industry employees. Additionally, the panel found that there was no First Amendment violation and that the lower court properly balanced the competing interests when it held that ASI had a stronger interest because strike would completely shut down the airport. AFFIRMED.

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