(CN) – The 7th Circuit upheld an injunction preventing airline pilots from disrupting United Air Lines’ operation in order to gain leverage toward a new collective bargaining agreement. United claimed that its pilots and their union conducted a lengthy campaign to disrupt the company’s business.
The pilots had agreed to wage and benefits reductions after United filed for bankruptcy due to a downturn in business after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The collective bargaining agreement will expire at the end of 2009, and negotiations can begin in early April, unless both sides agree to talk sooner.
The company turned business around, making a profit of $1 billion in 2007. The union wanted to discuss a new contract, but United refused.
The airline alleged that this led to a coordinated “sick-out” and refusal to work overtime, which resulted in hundreds of flight cancellations that affected thousands of customers.
The union harassed pilots who did not comply by through threatening notes, violent horror movies delivered to their homes, loans and magazine subscriptions taken out in their names, and harassing phone calls made to the pilots, their wives, and even their children.
The trial court granted United’s injunction, and Judge Royner of the Chicago-based federal appeals court affirmed the decision.
“The district court did not err in finding that United clearly proved that the defendants authorized and/or ratified the unlawful job actions,” Royner wrote.
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