Cases & Deals

Freight railroads obtain injunction requiring conductors' union to bargain

Clients National Railway Labor Conference

Jones Day has secured a permanent injunction on behalf of the nation's major freight railroads against the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division ("SMART-TD"), requiring the union to immediately begin bargaining with the railroads over train crew staffing. The current round of collective bargaining began on November 1, 2019, but SMART-TD, which represents the railroads' conductors, had refused to negotiate with the carriers about this issue.

On February 11, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a comprehensive 22-page order holding that the union's refusal to bargain violates the Railway Labor Act. This decision ensures that the railroads will have the opportunity to seek new agreements to modernize the conductor's role in freight railroad operations and take advantage of major new technological advancements.

The carriers involved in this lawsuit include BNSF Railway Company; The Kansas City Southern Railway Company; CSX Transportation, Inc.; Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company; Norfolk Southern Railway Company; Illinois Central Railroad Company; Union Pacific Railroad Company; and The Belt Railway Company of Chicago.

BNSF Railway Company, et al. v. International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers - Transportation Division, No. 4-19-cv-00789 (N.D. Tex.)