8th Circuit Affirms District Court’s Denial of SMART’s Preliminary Injunction Motion Seeking to Enjoin Carrier’s Wage Increases
- On June 24, 2022
By James Helenhouse and Chloe Pedersen
Attached is an interesting opinion from the 8th Circuit involving a dispute between the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, and Rail Transportation Workers (“SMART” or Union) and Iowa Northern Railway Company (“IANR” or Carrier). A history of the pertinent facts and details of legal disputes are set forth in the opinion. But, in short, the case affirmed the denial of SMART’s motion for preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin IANR from engaging in self-help by giving wage increase to its train and engine employees.
Prior to the litigation, IANR and SMART had been in negotiations over amendments to an expired CBA. The Union eventually walked out of negotiations and did not respond to emails seeking to continue negotiations. During this process, IANR realized its need to implement pay raises for its train and engine employees in order to stay competitive in the industry. Accordingly, it issued a Section 6 Notice informing the Union that it was going to increase wages, and the Union did not respond within the statutory 30 day period. IANR then issued it 10 day notice informing the Union it intended to engage in self-help. The Union still did not respond, other than sending a letter indicating that they intend to invoke the services of the NMB. However, the Union did not actually invoke those service until after the 10 day period expired. Because the union did not respond within the 10 days, IANR, resorted to self-help and initiated the wage increase. SMART then filed a complaint and a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin IANR from giving the wage increase. The District Court denied the motion finding that the because the Union could not establish success on the merits that IANR did not comply with the statutory requirements before engaging in self-help, and the Union otherwise failed to establish grounds for injunctive relief, the Union was not entitled to a preliminary injunction.
The opinion can be found here: OPINION 6.24.22
If you have questions regarding this opinion or labor, employment or litigation issues, please contact Chloe Pedersen or Jim Helenhouse.