Air Line Pilots Assn., 869 F.2d at 1521 (if there is any doubt, the court should construe the dispute as minor). To establish that a dispute is minor, the employer need only show that the contested action is "arguably justified by the terms of the parties' collective bargaining agreement." Conrail, 491 U.S. at 305. An employer's claim must be "frivolous or obviously insubstantial" in order for the court to determine that a dispute is major. Id.
In this case, Amtrak contends that the dispute over the crew assignment on the Regio Springer is "minor" because it involves an interpretation of the scope of UTU's work jurisdiction under Rule 1 of the agreement. Rule 1 provides that conductors and assistant conductors have the right to work "presently recognized as the exclusive work of passenger train service employees on main lines or branch lines or within yard facilities." Amtrak takes the position that, since it has not operated light-rail service before, the scope clause arguably does not cover work connected with the Regio Sprinter.
Amtrak argues further that, even if the scope clause applies to light-rail service, no work is being performed in connection with the Regio Sprinter program that is recognized as the "exclusive work" of UTU-represented employees: no tickets are being collected and sold on board the Regio Sprinter trains, and no switching and classification work is being performed in the train yards. Amtrak argues still further, relying on the language in Rule 11 which provides that the minimum crew for one revenue passenger car is one conductor, that revenue service is a necessary precondition to the assignment of a conductor, and that Regio Sprinter is a demonstration project that is not generating revenue.
UTU argues that Amtrak's actions give rise to a "major" dispute as well as an attempt to "achieve by fiat" the result Amtrak is seeking in the ongoing arbitration. UTU dismisses Amtrak's light-rail distinction as insignificant, emphasizing that the Regio Sprinter transports passengers and arguing that Rule 1 requires nothing more. UTU also maintains that it has been Amtrak's practice to assign a conductor to a passenger train regardless of whether the conductor handles tickets, and thus that the work of conductor on the Regio Sprinter is within the scope of "exclusive work" performed by UTU-represented employees. UTU argues that the selling of $ 1 commemorative tickets is sufficient to qualify the Regio Sprinter as "revenue service " under Rule 11 and that, even if the $ 1 does not go to Amtrak, the revenue Amtrak receives from Siemens to operate the Regio Sprinter places the service within the requirements of Rule 11.
The court finds that Amtrak's position is "arguable" under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and that the dispute is therefore "minor." Rule 1 does not specifically describe the scope of the work exclusively assigned to UTU-represented employees, but rather defines it as work "presently recognized" as exclusively within their province. Amtrak has never operated a light-rail service prior to this demonstration project. The question of whether that service falls within the scope of Rule 1 is open to interpretation, and Amtrak's position is not "frivolous or insubstantial."
Even if Amtrak's position under Rule 1 is without merit, its position may arguably be justified under Rule 11. The question of whether a demonstration project for which a limited number of commemorative tickets were sold constitutes "revenue service" is one that can be resolved by reference to the language in the agreement as well as past practices. Amtrak's position that the selling of commemorative tickets for a demonstration project does not qualify as revenue service is plausible under the language of Rule 11 (d), which defines revenue service as one in which "seats or accommodations may be purchased by passengers."
Because the dispute that underlies this case is minor in nature, the court is without jurisdiction to issue a preliminary injunction maintaining the status quo. An appropriate order accompanies this memorandum.
United States District Judge
Upon consideration of plaintiff's application for temporary restraining order and motion for preliminary injunction, defendant's opposition, and the entire record, it is this 10th day of March, 1997,
ORDERED that plaintiff's application for temporary restraining order [# 2] is denied. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction [# 2] is denied. And it is
FURTHER ORDERED by the court sua sponte that the case is dismissed for want of jurisdiction.
United States District Judge
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