Court Revives Union Bid for Impasse Resolution

     (CN) – The D.C. Circuit has reinstated a union’s claim that a federal panel must resolve any impasses between the national air traffic controllers union and the Federal Aviation Administration.

     The National Air Traffic Controllers Association repeatedly asked the Federal Service Impasses Panel to resolve stalled negotiations with the FAA, but the panel refused, saying it lacked jurisdiction to hear disputes about wages and benefits.
     The union sued the FAA, the panel and the Federal Labor Relations Authority, seeking a declaration that “the FSIP has mandatory jurisdiction to resolve impasses between the FAA and labor organizations.”
     The agencies argued that the district court lacked jurisdiction over the claims, because it has no authority to review the panel’s decisions. They also claimed the union had no standing to sue the FAA, because the “harm [it] alleged … is not ‘traceable’ to the FAA and cannot be addressed by that agency.”
     The district court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit.
     The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., upheld the decision to dismiss the case against the FAA, but reinstated the claims against the other two agencies.
     “Declaring the FSIP has jurisdiction over impasses between the FAA and the union would not require the district court to review the decision of the FSIP declining jurisdiction,” Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote.
     “Because the union does not seek review of a decision of either the FSIP or the general counsel, the district court erred in dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction.”

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