Delta Airline’s Post-Bankruptcy Mediation under the “Railway Labor Act”

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By Donald L. Swanson 

I learn something new every . . . well . . . every now and then.

Some recent new things new are these:

    –Delta Air Lines, Inc., is going into a post-bankruptcy mediation with its pilots.

    –Delta’s post-bankruptcy recovery is strong, while its pilot compensation lags from bankruptcy-era pay cuts.

    –Delta’s mediation will occur because mediation requirements in the Delta Pilot Working Agreement are taking effect: this is because Delta and its pilots failed to reach an agreement by March 31, 2016.

   –This mediation will occur under provisions of the Railway Labor Act (45 USC Sec. 151-188), which applies by its terms to both railways and airlines, despite its “Railway” name: Congress adopted the Railway Labor Act in 1926 and then amended it in 1936 to cover airlines too–but did not change the name.

     –This mediation will occur under the control of the National Mediation Board: this is a federal agency created by the Railway Labor Act to provide mediation and other services for resolving labor disputes such as working conditions and rates of pay. 

Hmmmm . . .  all of this is very interesting:  mandatory mediation requirements are built into labor contracts, in accordance with requirements of Federal statutes.  

Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from this post-bankruptcy mediation development in the Delta Airline context that could be applied in other bankruptcy contexts?

Anyone have any thoughts or expertise on this subject?

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