Railway Labor Act



The Railway Labor Act is a United States federal law that governs labor relations in the railroad and airline industries. The Act, passed in 1926 and amended in 1934 and 1936, seeks to substitute bargaining, arbitration and mediation for strikes as a means of resolving labor disputes. Its provisions were originally enforced under the Board of Mediation, but were later enforced under a National Mediation Board.


Unlike the NLRA, which gives the NLRB nearly exclusive power to enforce the Act, the RLA allows employees to sue in federal court to challenge an employer’s violation of the Act. The courts can grant employees reinstatement and back-pay, along with other forms of equitable relief.

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