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Flight Options, LLC v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

October 16, 2017

Flight Options, LLC; Flexjet, LLC; OneSky Flight, LLC; Flight Options Holding I, Inc., Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants-Appellants,
v.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 1108; International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division, Defendants/Counter-Claimants-Appellees.

          Argued: October 5, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland. No. 1:16-cv-00732-James S. Gwin, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          W. Chris Harrison, OGLETREE, DEAKINS, NASH, SMOAK & STEWART, P.C., Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellants.

          James Petroff, BARKAN MEIZLISH, LLP, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellees.

         ON BRIEF:

          W. Chris Harrison, Audrey M. Calkins, Zachary W. Hoyt, OGLETREE, DEAKINS, NASH, SMOAK & STEWART, P.C., Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellants.

          James Petroff, Trent R. Taylor, BARKAN MEIZLISH, LLP, Columbus, Ohio, Nicolas M. Manicone, Deirdre Hamilton, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

          Before: SUTTON, DONALD, and THAPAR, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          THAPAR, Circuit Judge.

          Bad weather causes turbulence. As it turns out, so does merging two luxury airlines. A few years ago, Flight Options announced that it would acquire and merge operations with Flexjet. The airlines and their pilots' union have been fighting ever since-and have become frequent fliers in this circuit. This is the second time the parties have been before us this year. Their first appeal was about how to combine the pilots' seniority lists. See Flight Options, LLC v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, Local 1108, 863 F.3d 529 (2017). This appeal is about how to integrate the pilots under one collective-bargaining agreement.

         I.

         The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has represented the Flight Options pilots for over ten years. And when Flight Options and Flexjet announced a merger, the Flexjet pilots elected the Teamsters to represent them too. Now the airlines and the union have to find a way to fold the Flight Options and Flexjet pilots into one labor group.

         Flight Options and the union already have a collective-bargaining agreement that says what should happen in the event of a merger. Section 1.5(c)(4) requires the airlines and the union to modify the agreement "in those respects necessary to permit the integration" of new pilots. The parties have nine months to execute a modified agreement. If they ...


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