O’Melveny Worldwide

Chris Hollinger handles all aspects of labor and employment law, with specialized expertise in the representation of airlines under the federal Railway Labor Act.

Chris’ extensive experience in representing airlines under the Railway Labor Act includes: providing practical and legal guidance in response to union organizing campaigns; representing airlines before the National Mediation Board; “at the table” participation in collective-bargaining negotiations and providing “behind the scenes” advice regarding collective-bargaining strategy and contract language; providing practical and legal advice in preparation for traditional strikes as well as slowdown activity; representing airlines in federal court litigation; and handling contractual and disciplinary arbitrations. In the area of employment law, Chris has been heavily involved in the past three years litigating constitutional and federal-preemption challenges to the application of state and local paid sick leave and wage/hour laws to airline employees.

The other significant focus of Chris' law practice is pro bono work—with an emphasis on animal welfare/rights (in particular, providing legal assistance to animal shelters throughout the State of California); and anti-racism (in particular, the labor relations aspects of police reform, and the removal of Confederate monuments from governmental buildings in the South).

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Traditional Labor Law

  • Representing a major US-based airline (and one of its predecessor airlines) in a large variety of matters, including with respect to:  “at the table” pre-merger negotiations of collective bargaining agreements between the airline and another airline’s pilot and flight attendant unions to facilitate the successful merger of the two carriers; “at the table” negotiation of the post-merger collective bargaining agreement between the airline and its pilot union; the single-carrier process before the National Mediation Board in connection with the merger of the two airlines; multiple federal court lawsuits (at both the trial and appellate levels) involving a long-standing pilot seniority-integration dispute; and large-scale contract-interpretation arbitrations involving pension and medical benefits.
  • Represented another major US-based airline in:  the single-carrier process before the National Mediation Board in connection with its merger with another domestic airline; the drafting of the post-merger collective bargaining agreement between the airline and its pilot union; and the successful defense of the airline in response to a “minor dispute injunction” lawsuit brought by a union to block the airline’s post-merger integration efforts.
  • Represented a domestic airline for 10+ years before its merger with another airline, including the defense in federal court litigation of the airline’s non-payment of profit sharing to union-represented employees and its subcontracting of bargaining unit work prior to a union representation election.
  • Conducted the negotiation (from start to finish) of a cargo airline’s initial collective bargaining agreement with its pilot union.
  • Represented a regional airline company in a federal court lawsuit challenging the legal validity of the airline’s collective bargaining agreement with its pilot union.
  • Represented a large metropolitan transportation agency in “at the table” collective bargaining negotiations, and in various arbitrations involving the subcontracting of bargaining unit work.
  • Represented a hospital in “at the table” collective bargaining negotiations for a “wall-to-wall” bargaining unit.

Employment Law

  • Representing a nationwide transportation company in multi-district litigation proceedings consisting of 50+ class actions and other lawsuits challenging the employment classification of package pick-up and delivery drivers under the laws of multiple states.
  • Represented a technology company in challenges under California and federal law to the employment classification of persons who worked for small contact center businesses.
  • Represented a domestic airline in a nationwide class action under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and state statutory and common law, filed by several hundred employees who were displaced from their jobs after the airline subcontracted airport ground handling work to another carrier.
  • Represented a domestic airline in a nationwide class action involving claims based on the carrier’s non-payment of profit sharing and merit increases to union-represented employees.


Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • US District Courts, Northern, Eastern and Southern Districts of California, District of Colorado, Eastern District of Texas
  • US Court of Appeals, Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and DC Circuits


  • University of Chicago, J.D., 1989
  • Dartmouth College, B.A., 1986: summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a Labor & Employment Star (2021-2024)
  • Recommended by The Legal 500 in Labor and Employment (2018, 2021) 

Professional Activities


  • Honorable Charles Levin, Michigan Supreme Court


  • The Railway Labor Act, Third Edition, Bloomberg BNA (2012)

Board of Directors

  • California Women’s Law Center, Treasurer (2005-2019); Recipient, Abby J. Leibman Pursuit of Justice Award (2019)


  • Railway and Airline Labor Law Committee, American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment (2017-2019)

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, “Airline and Railroad Labor and Employment Law,” American Law Institute (Multiple Occasions)