The Circuit's decision rests on two bases. First, in approving the sale transaction, the ICC had mandated that the transaction take place. Its order provided that the seller " must complete the sale so long as [the buyer] consummates." 792 F.2d at 12 (emphasis supplied by the Circuit). Thus, the Circuit found, an order directing the parties to engage in negotiations pursuant to the RLA would directly conflict with enforcement of the ICC order because it would render impossible consummation of the transaction as contemplated by the ICC.
Moreover, and more importantly, by the time RLEA came into court seeking injunctive relief in the Staten Island proceeding, the sale had taken place. Therefore, the status quo had been altered and the issuance of an injunction for the purpose of preserving the parties' positions as they existed at the time the dispute arose would have been a pointless exercise. Once the sale had taken effect, the only means by which the Court could have given effect to the RLA dispute resolution procedures would have been to direct the unraveling of the sale transaction, which it clearly was unwilling to do, particularly in light of the fact that once the sale had taken place the seller had relinquished all authority to operate a rail system under the ICA.
The circumstances of the case at hand are significantly different than those presented to the Second Circuit in Staten Island. First, the ICC's order does not mandate that the sale of P&LE take place. Rather, it simply authorizes the parties to proceed with the sale without the restrictions which normally would be applicable pursuant to the provisions of the ICA. Second, the sale has not taken place. Therefore, there is relief which this Court can grant by way of an injunction to preserve the status quo. Under these circumstances, there is no unavoidable conflict between the RLA and the ICA; the provisions of the two statutes can be harmonized, giving effect to the purposes of each. Watt v. Alaska, supra.
There appears to be little argument that the dispute at hand constitutes a "major" dispute within the meaning of the RLA. Baker v. United Transportation Union, 455 F.2d 149 (3d Cir. 1971). Therefore, P&LE may not alter the status quo without complying with the procedures of the RLA, and, specifically, with the procedures of § 6 of that Act. United Transportation Union v. Penn Central Transportation Company, 505 F.2d 542 (3d Cir. 1974). The status quo consists of the rates of pay, rules and working conditions that prevail at the time a § 6 notice is filed. Baker, supra.
This Court previously has ruled that P&LE has no obligation to negotiate concerning its decision to sell a substantial portion of its operation. First National Maintenance Corporation v. NLRB, 452 U.S. 666, 101 S. Ct. 2573, 69 L. Ed. 2d 318 (1981). P&LE, however, does have the duty to bargain over the effects of its decision to sell. First National Maintenance, supra; United Industrial Workers v. Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves, 351 F.2d 183 (5th Cir. 1965). In Galveston Wharves, the Fifth Circuit stated that it "assumed that an employer had the legal right to go out of business. But under the Railway Labor Act when it does so during the term of the agreement it is such a change in 'working conditions' that under § 6 and § 2 [of the RLA] it must give notice." 351 F.2d at 190.
There is no dispute that, although RLEA has served § 6 notices upon P&LE and, further, has invoked the services of the National Mediation Board pursuant to § 5, First, of the RLA, P&LE has refused to participate in the dispute resolution procedures under the RLA. P&LE has a duty to negotiate in good faith with the representatives of its employees.
In summary, the Court concludes that there is no statutory basis for defendant's contention that the ICC has the authority to override the dispute resolution mechanisms of the RLA or that enforcement of the RLA mechanisms would conflict with the ICC's order. P&LE has failed to convince the Court that an intent to grant such sweeping authority to the ICC can be inferred from § 10505 of the ICA. The RLA is a validly enacted federal statute which this Court must enforce in the absence of a clear indication that Congress intended otherwise. P&LE is obligated to comply with its provisions.
An appropriate Order will be issued.
AND NOW, this 24th day of November, 1987, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss filed in the above captioned matter on September 30, 1987, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that said Motion is DENIED.
AND, further, upon consideration of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment filed in the above captioned matter on November 16, 1987, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that said Motion is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Defendant comply with the provisions of the Railway Labor Act concerning resolution of the major dispute at issue.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant is enjoined from altering the rates of pay, rules and working conditions in existence at the time the § 6 notices were given.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the sale of Defendant's assets is enjoined to the extent that such sale does not include provisions for the maintenance of the status quo, that is, provisions prohibiting the alteration of the rates of pay, rules and working conditions existing at the time § 6 notices were given. The injunction hereby ordered shall remain in effect until such time as the dispute resolution procedures set forth in the Railway Labor Act have been completed.