United Transp. Union v. Foxx

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 05-08-2014
  • Case #: 11-73258
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Schroeder for Court; Circuit Judges Clifton and Noonan
  • Full Text Opinion

If a collective bargaining agreement is unclear in its terms, the Federal Railroad Association lacks jurisdiction to issue an order interpreting the agreement.

A dispute arose between the United Transportation Union ("Union") and the Union Pacific Railroad Company ("Railroad") as to whether the Railroad had authority under a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") to designate terminals for a new service the Railroad had instituted in California. The Union asked the Federal Railroad Association ("FRA") Administrator to issue an order to prevent the Railroad from taking "illegal unilateral action". The FRA declined, citing "it lacked jurisdiction because it did not have statutory authority to interpret collective bargaining agreements".The Union agrees that the FRA has no statutory authority to interpret collective bargaining agreements, but on appeal, contends that no interpretation of the bargaining agreement is required here. The panel held that there was an interpretation of the CBA here and therefore the FRA did lack jurisdiction. The panel reasons that since the parties did not agree on any designated terminals the Union is not merely asking the FRA to "review" the CBA, but instead asking the FRA to interpret what are designated terminals under the CBA. Petition for Review DENIED

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