American Train Dispatchers Dept., Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. Fort Smith Railroad Co.

121 F.3d 267 (1997)

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American Train Dispatchers Dept., Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers v. Fort Smith Railroad Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
121 F.3d 267 (1997)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (the union) (plaintiff) represented a bargaining unit of railroad workers employed by Fort Smith Railroad Co. (the railroad) (defendant). The parties engaged in unsuccessful negotiations over labor issues. Pursuant to the Railroad Labor Act, the union invoked the National Mediation Board (the board), which assigned Robert Martin as the parties’ mediator. In 1995 and early 1996, Martin mediated four sessions between the parties at the railroad’s headquarters in Peoria, Illinois. The board set the fifth session in Washington, D.C., but the railroad objected and proposed locations in Illinois or Missouri. The board held the continued mediation in Missouri. Thereafter, the board scheduled the sixth mediation session in Washington, D.C. The railroad objected to the location once again based on the distance from its headquarters and also indicated that it believed negotiations were at an impasse. A few days later, the union dropped its demands on several items. The railroad rejected the union’s offer and reiterated its request that Martin declare an impasse. The board sent a last communication to the parties, reiterating that the sixth mediation session was set in Washington, D.C., based on Martin’s belief that convening there would be productive. The railroad would not agree to meet in D.C. The union sought injunctive relief in district court, requiring the railroad to follow the board’s decision on when and where to mediate. The district court granted the injunction, and the railroad appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cudahy, J.)

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