Implications of the Railway Labor Act of 1926 Essay

Pages: 4 (1332 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation

In 1938 the Civil Aeronautics Authority was created and given regulation authority over the airlines. But two years before the Civil Aeronautics Authority was created, Congress (in 1936) extended the exact "provisions of the Railway Labor Act" to also provide coverage for workers involved in the airline business (Thoms, 9).

And so after ten years of success with the Railway Labor Act (vis-a-vis railroad companies, unions and workers), Congress figured out that workers in the airline industry also needed federal protection through statutes that allowed collective bargaining for those situations when union organizing was taking place. In fact, Thoms notes that "…many of the same unions active in the railroad industry…" got involved organizing airline employees (10). The great need for legislative and executive authority to keep commerce moving throughout the United States was even more pronounced during the Great Depression. Among the many industries that were vital to the economic dynamics in the U.S. was of course transportation, Thoms continues on page 8.

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In 1934 the Black-McKellar Act established what needed to be set up in order to regulate airlines (not to just allow fairness during labor disputes) -- The Federal Aviation Commission. There were two "fundamental ingredients" in that legislation, Thoms writes. One, there were "certain minimum standards of "equipment, operating methods, and personal qualifications" that had to be met. And two, when any "irresponsible, unfair, or excessive competition" emerged in the airline industry, the Black-McKellar Act would come into play.

Congressman Randolph had no problem with open and fair competition, but he asserted that "unbridled and unregulated competition is a public menace"; he was alluding to "rate wars and cutthroat devices" as detrimental to the public, hence, the need for regulation (Thoms, 8-9).

Essay on Implications of the Railway Labor Act of 1926 Assignment

How was a "carrier" defined by the courts? In the litigation BULLOCK V. CAPITAL AIRWAYS (1959) a district judge (Zavatt) ruled that the following should be considered "carriers":

"…every common carrier by air engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, and every carrier by air transporting mail for or under contract with the United States Government, and every air pilot or other person who performs any work as an employee or subordinate official of such carrier or carriers, subject to its or their continuing authority to supervise and direct the manner of rendition of his service…" (Thoms, 10).

The actual Act's full text defines "carrier" as any company that directly or indirectly is controlled or owned by any carrier by railroad -- or which "operates any equipment or facilities or performs any service" (not including trucking) that is linked to transportation through "receipt, delivery, elevation…refrigeration…storage.." is a carrier (The Railway Labor Act).

In addition, the Motor Carrier Act was passed in 1935, which allowed the federal government to regulate rates and rules for new entries, and put the responsibility for carrying out the law to the Interstate Commerce Commission (which "already held extensive regulatory authority over rail carriers…" (Thoms, 8).

What is necessary to point out is that the President of the United States has "extensive emergency powers" given to him by the Railway Labor Act; this means in the case of a labor dispute (Larsen, et al., 2012). Moreover, when a labor dispute has the potential to "disrupt interstate commerce," the President can also appoint an "emergency board of impartial people" to look into the dispute and create a solution, which it then submits to the President (Larsen, 1251).

In conclusion, the Railway Labor Act has proven to be more than just regulatory as regards railroads and airline businesses. It related very powerfully to the rights of employees to go into collective bargaining and establish a union.

Works Cited

Bank, B. (2006). Railway Labor Act. Saint Francis University. Retrieved September 20, 2014,


Larsen, P.B., Sweeney, J., and Gillick, J. (2012). Aviation Law: Cases, Laws and Related

Sources: Second Edition. Boston, MA: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

The Railway Labor Act. (1926). Retrieved September 20, 2014, from… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Implications of the Railway Labor Act of 1926" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Implications of the Railway Labor Act of 1926.  (2014, September 20).  Retrieved March 7, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Implications of the Railway Labor Act of 1926."  20 September 2014.  Web.  7 March 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Implications of the Railway Labor Act of 1926."  September 20, 2014.  Accessed March 7, 2021.