What rights do railway and airline employees have under the Railway Labor Act (RLA)?

Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, XpertHR Legal Editor

The RLA provides employees in the railway and airline industries all of the following rights:

  • The right to organize without "interference, influence or coercion by either party over the designation of representatives by the other."
  • The right to collective bargain over "rates of pay, rules and working conditions" with a carrier (the employer).
  • The right to engage in "self-help" measures such as peaceful striking, picketing and intermittent striking so long as it is not unlawful or inherently dangerous. However, such measures may only be taken once the employees/union has exhausted all the RLA dispute resolution mechanisms, e.g. mediation, arbitration.