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ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS v. WESTERN AIRLIN

February 20, 1987

Association Of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, Plaintiff,
v.
Western Airlines, Inc., Defendant


Gesell, U.S.D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GESELL

GESELL, U.S.D.J.

 This is a labor dispute which has arisen under the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 151 to 188 (1982) ("RLA"). It comes before the Court on plaintiff union's ("AFA") verified complaint and dispositive cross-motions. Defendant Western Air Lines, Inc. is scheduled to merge with Delta Air Lines, Inc. on April 1, 1987. Western's employees are represented by several different unions according to craft, including AFA. Delta is a non-union carrier. AFA claims that Western has breached its 1984 collective bargaining agreement with AFA by failing to bind Delta to the terms of that agreement.

 Facts

 There are no material facts in dispute.

 (1) On September 9, 1986, Western and Delta entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger.

 (2) On October 21, 1986, AFA filed a grievance over Western's failure to bind Delta to the 1984 collective bargaining agreement.

 (3) On November 19, 1986, Western denied the grievance.

 (4) On November 26, 1986, AFA submitted the dispute to Western's System Board of Adjustment pursuant to Section 24 of the collective bargaining agreement, and Western refused to arbitrate. Section 24(D), established under 45 U.S.C. § 184 of the RLA, provides for jurisdiction in the System Board over disputes "growing out of grievances or out of interpretation of application of any of the terms of the" collective bargaining agreement but "shall not extend to change in hours of employment, rates of compensation or working conditions . . . ."

 (5) On December 11, 1986, the U.S. Department of Transportation gave final approval to the Agreement and Plan of Merger under the Federal Aviation Act.

 (6) On December 18, 1986, as the first step looking toward merger, Delta acquired 100 % control of Western and became its parent.

 (7) On January 8, 1987, AFA filed its complaint with this Court. Western's motion to transfer the case to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of California *fn1" was denied on January 20, 1987, and the motions now before the Court were promptly filed and opposed.

 (8) In Section 5.9 of the Agreement and Plan of Merger, Delta and Western agreed that Western would continue to honor its 1984 collective bargaining agreement with AFA while it was a separate company under Delta's control. This has been done and there is no claim to the contrary. No layoffs are contemplated, either before or after the merger. If Western merges as planned into Delta on April 1, 1987, all Western flight attendants presently represented by AFA will become employees of Delta, supplementing and combining with Delta's much larger complement of flight attendants. Significantly higher wages and benefits will be paid flight attendants now represented by AFA when they are Delta employees ...


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