Court Upholds Eastern Plan to Lay Off 3,000
A federal appeals court today upheld Eastern Airlines’ decision to lay off about 3,000 employees when it eliminated service to 14 cities, ruling that an injunction against the furloughs was illegal.
The ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here struck down a decision in August by a lower court judge who had barred the financially troubled airline from carrying out the layoffs.
The three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the layoffs were not an unlawful change in working conditions under the Railway Labor Act, which controls labor relations in the airline industry.
The court also concluded that the dispute between Eastern and the unions “was a minor one under the Railway Labor Act. Accordingly, the district court was without jurisdiction to enter a preliminary status quo injunction under Section 6 of the act.”
U.S. District Judge Barrington Parker last month allowed Eastern to stop service to 14 cities and close its Kansas City hub in July but he barred the carrier from proceeding with the layoffs without negotiating the cuts with its unions.
The appeals court had stayed Parker’s order and allowed Eastern to furlough the employees provided it post a $4.7-million bond to cover a month’s pay in case the unions prevailed.