La Carmen then argues that the District Court wrongly rejected its State rights that TTX unlawfully interfered with the union`s interests when negotiating new collective agreements. Before the Regional Court, the union argued that TTX had infringed Carmen`s rights under explicit and tacit agreements as well as her waiting interests. The District Court granted TTX`s request for dismissal in that case and held that, since the claims for criminal interference were due to evidence of a breach of a collective agreement, those rights had been anticipated by the Railway Labour Act. The Family Railway Track, Slip op. at 12. According to this standard, the employer must find that his rights are not reckless or manifestly negligible, for example at 2482, 2489, but the burden is “relatively low”. Id. at 2482. The court is therefore not tasked with interpreting the agreement, but simply with determining whether the case “involves a question of interpretation of the contract”. “Sheet Metal Workers, 893 F.2d to 203 (cited as Line R.R., 850 F.2d to 376).
Each joint protection commission represents Carmen`s staff in one of the four railways and each board of directors has a collective agreement with its respective railways. Railroads are “carriers” within the meaning of 45 U.S.C. § 151, First. If there has been a deviation from a previous practice that has risen to the level of an implied provision, the dispute is significant and carriers have a responsibility not to maintain the status quo of the agreement. In the appeal, the Carmen argue that their claims for tortious intervention do not depend on evidence of an agreement or a breach thereof, but are based on an “existing business relationship”, a “reasonable expectation of commercial relations” or a “foreseeable contractual relationship”. Generally speaking, a larger dispute involves an effort to secure new contractual rights, while a minor dispute involves the interpretation or application of an existing agreement. Consolidated Rail Corp. v.
Railway Labor Executives Ass`n, 491 U.S. 299, 109 p. Ct. 2477, 2480, 105 L. Ed. 2d 250 (1989); Sheet Metal Workers Int`l Ass`n. Burlington N. R.R., 893 F.2d 199, 202 (8th Cir. 1990). Significant disputes are governed by 45 U.S.C§ 152, Seventh and 156. Section 152, seventh, prohibits a carrier from changing the rates of pay, rules or conditions of employment of employees “as defined in the agreements, except in the manner provided for in such agreements or in section 156…”.
Sections 155 and 156 require parties to “go through an `almost endless process` of negotiation and mediation. Sheet metal workers, 893 F.2d to 202. See also Consolidated Rail, 109 pp. Ct. at 2480. Until they exhaust these procedures, the parties must maintain the status quo, which means that the employer cannot implement controversial changes to rates of pay, rules or working conditions. 109 pp. Ct. at 2480.
Once the necessary procedures have been exhausted and no agreement has been reached, the “parties may resort to economic force”. Id. The railways of La Fraternité Carmen and four of their internal services or “Joint Protective Boards” are appealing a summary judgment against them. asserting that: (1) the four railroads violated the various provisions of the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. §§ 151-188 (1988) by leasing property to the Train Company (TTX) trailer, to authorize non-Carmen`s Union personnel to enter the field and carry out certain types of repairs to TTX-owned freight cars operated by the railroads; and 2) TTX and the railways conspired to violate the Railway Labour Act…