Railway Labor Act

Cozen O’Connor has one of the nation’s leading Railway Labor Act (RLA) practices, with multiple experienced attorneys who represent carriers in all aspects of union and employee relations. 

Cozen O’Connor lawyers regularly represent rail carriers in collective bargaining negotiations (known as “major disputes” under the RLA), enforcement of the RLA’s no-strike obligation over contractual or “minor” disputes, and common situs labor disputes involving both railroads and employers covered by the National Labor Relations Act. With decades of industry and legal experience, our RLA attorneys advise railroads on a daily basis as to their legal and contractual rights, opportunities, and obligations. Cozen O’Connor attorneys have appeared before multiple Presidential Emergency Boards, the Surface Transportation Board, and federal and state courts across the country. In addition, we have represented regional commuter railroads under the special provisions of Section 9A of the RLA in collective bargaining, Presidential Emergency Boards, and labor arbitration.

Our RLA practitioners have served as labor counsel in multiple transactions governed by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA), including some of the largest and most complex railroad control transactions in North American history. An integral part of this practice is our experience in negotiating or arbitrating labor agreements to successfully implement ICCTA-related transactions, as well as dispute resolution through special procedures established for regulated transactions.

Cozen O’Connor has a robust whistleblower defense practice, including experience defending railroads against claims brought under the Federal Railroad Safety Act, airlines in cases under AIR-21, and employers in multiple industries against claims brought under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. As part of the whistleblower defense practice, Cozen O’Connor lawyers have appeared before OSHA, Administrative Law Judges, the Administrative Review Board of the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as federal district courts and courts of appeals. In addition, Cozen O’Connor attorneys regularly represent railroad carriers in employment litigation under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and other federal and state employment discrimination statutes.

Our lawyers also have substantial experience in representing railroads in RLA and ICCTA preemption litigation, opposing efforts to impose regulatory or judicial requirements that differ from uniform federal safety obligations.

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Events & Seminars

Past Events

Labor Issues in Railroad Mergers

March 08, 2024 - Phoenix, AZ

2019 Labor and Employment Law Update

June 20, 2019 - Philadelphia, PA


Robert S. Hawkins



(215) 665-2015


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