(CN) – A union representing American Airlines pilots can’t encourage its members not to fly overtime, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled.
U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. concluded that such advice would violate the Railway Labor Act and would disrupt airline operations.
At issue was the extra work generated by “open time,” or flights where the scheduled pilot got sick or already worked the maximum number of hours for the month.
A pilot’s decision to cover open time is voluntary, and the pilot receives overtime pay for doing so.
The Allied Pilots Association asked the court for clearance to encourage members to reject open time, which would’ve put pressure on the airline during their negotiations over pilot furloughs.
Judge Williams said the union’s proposed action isn’t part of the status quo.
“There is a difference between an individual exercising his or her right under a contract and a union collectively encouraging its members to exercise those individual rights,” Williams wrote.
He granted the airline’s motion for summary judgment.