United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS AND TRAINMEN (GENERAL COMMITTEE OF ADJUSTMENT, CENTRAL REGION), et al., Plaintiffs,
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD CO., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Edmond E. Chang United States District Judge.
divisions of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and
Trainmen, a union of trade engineers, brought this action
against Union Pacific Railroad for violations of the Railway
Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 151, et seq. R. 4,
Compl. The Brotherhood claims that Union Pacific,
which employs Brotherhood members, violated the Act when the
railroad implemented a new disciplinary policy-one that
allegedly conflicts with the parties' collective
bargaining agreements-without first bargaining to impasse.
Id. ¶¶ 2-3. The Brotherhood also claims
that Union Pacific violated the Act's prohibition on
direct dealing by soliciting employee input before
implementing the new policy. Id. ¶¶ 7, 45.
parties have filed dueling motions: the Brotherhood seeks a
preliminary injunction against the implementation of the new
disciplinary policy, R. 24, Pl.'s Mot. for Prelim. Inj.,
and Union Pacific seeks dismissal of the Complaint for lack
of subject-matter jurisdiction and also asks for judgment on
the pleadings, R. 16, Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss. For the
reasons discussed below, the motion to dismiss is granted
(though not on all the grounds sought by the railroad) and
the motion for preliminary injunction is denied.
purposes of the motion to dismiss, the facts alleged in the
Complaint are accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Union Pacific is a Class I Rail
Carrier, Compl. ¶ 9, and is subject to the Railway Labor
Act, see 45 U.S.C. § 151. It employs locomotive
engineers who are unionized under various divisions of the
Brotherhood. Compl. ¶ 8. The Brotherhood and Union
Pacific (or their various predecessors-in-interest) have
entered into a number of collective bargaining agreements
over the years. Id. ¶¶ 12, 27; R. 17-1,
Phillips Aff. ¶¶ 4-6; see also R. 4-2,
Compl. at Exh. B, 1996 Sys. Agmt.; R. 17-21, Phillips Aff. at
Exh. T, S. Pac. W. Lines Agmt.
those agreements, the Southern Pacific Western Lines
Agreement, contains a provision that addresses how
long employee-disciplinary information can be kept in
Information concerning discipline more than five (5) years
old contained in personal records will be expunged with the
exception of suspension or dismissal involving violations of
[Federal Railroad Administration] regulations or Safety
Rules, which were upheld in arbitration.
W. Lines Agmt. at 191 (the parties refer to this clause as
“Article 18”). As its text says, Article 18 sets
a general ban on keeping disciplinary records for longer than
five years, but with an exception for violations of Federal
Railroad Administration regulations and safety rules.
September 2015, Union Pacific issued a policy entitled
Managing Agreement Professionals for Success (known by its
acronym, “MAPS”). Compl. ¶ 16; R. 4-1,
Compl. at Exh. A, MAPS Policy. Before issuing the policy, the
railroad had polled its engineers on their preferred changes
to existing discipline rules. Compl. ¶ 45. MAPS covers a
number of human-resources-related topics, but this lawsuit
centers around Section 3.2.1, a disciplinary rule that adopts
a “three-strikes” approach for Federal Railroad
3.2.1. Multiple FRA Revocations: If an
employee violates a decertification rule and there are two
prior FRA license revocations on the employee's work
history … the employee may be charged with violation
of Rule 1.6 [governing prohibited conduct] under MAPS after
evaluation of the employee's work history by the
Superintendent and the Regional Vice President.
Policy at 4. In a nutshell, when an engineer picks up a third
Federal Railroad Administration license revocation, he or she
is also subject to being fired. Compl. ¶ 28.
went into effect without any negotiation between Union
Pacific and the Brotherhood. Compl. ¶ 30. The
Brotherhood quickly protested, but Union Pacific asserted its
right to implement MAPS without consulting the Brotherhood
first. Id. ¶¶ 31-33. This lawsuit
Pacific brings its motion to dismiss under Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(c). A Rule 12(b)(1) motion
tests whether the Court has subject-matter jurisdiction,
Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No.
7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009); Long v.
Shorebank Dev. Corp., 182 F.3d 548, 554 (7th Cir. 1999),
while a Rule 12(c) motion tests the sufficiency of the
plaintiff's claim for relief based on the pleadings,
Hayes v. City of Chi., 670 F.3d 810, 813 (7th Cir.
2012). When reviewing a motion for judgment on the pleadings,
the Court accepts as true all factual allegations in the
complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor. Ezekiel v. Michel, 66 F.3d
894, 897 (7th Cir. 1995); Hayes, 670 F.3d at 813. A
party may move for judgment on the pleadings after the
pleadings are closed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). A motion for
judgment on the pleadings is subject to the same standard as
a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Hayes, 670
F.3d at 813. Judgment on the pleadings is proper if it
appears beyond doubt that the non-moving party cannot prove
any set of facts sufficient to support his ...