Our firm represents railroad industry employers across the nation. We conduct a broadly based labor and employment practice, focusing on litigation, arbitration, counseling and representation before regulatory agencies. Our lawyers have decades of experience handling complex matters arising under the Railway Labor Act and at the intersection of the Railway Labor Act and other statutory schemes affecting labor-management relations in the railroad industry, most notably the Interstate Commerce Act. We have longstanding and fruitful relationships with major railroads and with smaller carriers and other railroad industry employers as well.
Our lawyers represent railroads in the United State Supreme Court, in federal and state trial and appellate courts throughout the country, before federal agencies – including the National Mediation Board, the Surface Transportation Board (formerly the Interstate Commerce Commission) and the Federal Railroad Administration – and before arbitrators acting under the Railway Labor Act or the Interstate Commerce Act. We have litigated against all of the traditional railroad labor unions.
Our lawyers participated in formulating industry responses to regulatory changes and labor union initiatives. We are in the forefront of litigation that has defined the relationship between the Railway Labor Act and the Interstate Commerce Act in connection with railroad transactions authorized by the Surface Transportation Board (and previously the Interstate Commerce Commission). In the seminal case of Norfolk & Western Ry. v. American Train Dispatchers’ Association, 499 U.S. 117 (1991), we successfully argued that the provisions in the Interstate Commerce Act exempting railroad mergers, acquisitions and other regulated transactions “from all other law” applies to collective bargaining agreements. We have prevailed in numerous leading appellate and administrative agency cases that have established the scope of the exclusive jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board (and previously the Interstate Commerce Commission) to resolve disputes over changes in labor agreements that are necessary to the implementation of authorized transactions. We obtained judicial decisions that made possible the division of Conrail.
Our lawyers prevailed in appellate cases that have placed limitations on the circumstances in which employees may be eligible for monetary benefits under the employee protective conditions imposed under the Interstate Commerce Act in connection with authorized railroad transactions, and that have established that arbitration of disputes over such claims for monetary benefits is mandatory.
We handle a wide range of other railroad labor litigation matters, both novel and more traditional. We obtained injunctions against threatened or actual strikes and picketing in a variety of circumstances, such as when unions engage in economic self-help over disputes arising under collective bargaining agreements that are subject to mandatory arbitration under the Railway Labor Act, or over disputes that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board and its arbitrators. Our lawyers participated in leading cases that facilitated the rationalization of the industry through short line sales. We successfully defended a railroad’s ability to sell or lease rail lines against union claims that the railroad must first negotiate agreements under the Railway Labor Act to obtain the right to engage in the sale or lease.
We participated in many other cases defining the scope of Railway Labor Act obligations. We successfully defended Railway Labor Act arbitration awards on judicial review, obtaining favorable clarifications of the narrow standard of review of such awards, and succeeded in reversing arbitration awards that exceeded the jurisdiction of arbitrators or were inconsistent with the demands of the Railway Labor Act. Our lawyers successfully defended railroads against claims that they colluded with unions in breaches of the unions’ duty of fair representation, and against claims brought under state law, where the claims involved matters of contract interpretation that were preempted by the Railway Labor Act. We prevailed in cases establishing that a railroad cannot be forced to engage in collective bargaining through a multi-employer bargaining agent. We successfully enjoined a union from attempting to claim the right to represent certain employees by pursuing arbitration of a collective bargaining agreement dispute before the National Railroad Adjustment Board, vindicating the principle that a dispute over representation lies within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Mediation Board.
We practice before the National Mediation Board and are experienced in defending railroad interests in connection with labor union representation campaigns.
Our lawyers have extensive experience in arbitration under the employee protective conditions imposed pursuant to the Interstate Commerce Act and in Railway Labor Act arbitrations over disputes arising under national and local collective bargaining agreements, including on-property employee protective agreements. We appear before the preeminent arbitrators in the industry and obtained favorable awards in many leading arbitration cases.