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Republic airlines file federal suit against pilots union

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Three airlines operated by Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc. are suing a pilots union over a website they say is damaging their reputation and hindering efforts to hire pilots.

Chautauqua Airlines Inc., Republic Airlines Inc. and Shuttle America Inc. want a federal judge to issue a permanent injunction forcing the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 357 to take the website down. The airlines charge in their lawsuit filed March 28 that the site, www.RAHContractNow.org, makes several false statements meant to scare away prospective pilots.

Republic Airways and the union have been locked in contract negotiations since 2007, as pilots continue to work without a new agreement. Pilots complain they haven’t had a pay raise in more than four years, and they want better scheduling and seniority rights.

In December 2010, the union withdrew its negotiating proposals and tentative agreements, and negotiations started over again. The airlines and the union have been in mediation under the oversight of the National Mediation Board since June 2011.

Due to a shortage of pilots, the airlines said in their suit that they’ve recently begun recruiting new ones amid a competitive market. But the union launched the website to disrupt the recruiting efforts, the airlines charged.

“As a result of these inaccurate statements,” the airlines said, “Republic has had an increase in the number of pilots who have not called back for interviews and dropped out of the application process.”

A spokeswoman for the union said it could not comment on pending litigation.

The airlines said the website falsely states that in the event of a strike they will fire probationary pilots. The airlines further charge that the union is issuing a veiled threat to prospective pilots by stating on the site that accepting jobs with the airlines would undermine the union’s efforts to disrupt their operations.

“Pilots who read this will reasonably conclude that the union may retaliate against them if they accept employment with plaintiffs,” the airlines’ complaint said.

They said it takes about three months to recruit and train a pilot. If the airlines are unable to recruit enough pilots now, they argued, service will be interrupted. The airlines charge that the union is violating state and federal labor laws, and also allege that it is committing breach of contract and defamation. In addition to the injunction, they seek monetary damages.

The three airlines filed the suit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis.•

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This story originally ran in the March 29, 2012 IBJ Daily. The Indianapolis Business Journal is a sister publication of IL.

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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