big rules change for aviation and railroad workers in the Federal Aviation
Administration reauthorization bill does not involve the provisions that union
members claim will make it more difficult to organize.
according to a spokesman for the chairman of the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee, the big change involves undoing recent rule changes
that made the unionization process less inclusive.
Harclerode, spokesman for Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), told The Hill that the FAA
bill repeals “unilateral actionÉ taken by the three-member National Mediation
Board” that changed the union rules last year.
75 years, union elections at airlines and railroads had required that a
majority of all workers vote in favor of union representation,” Harclerode said
in an e-mail. “In 2010, the NMB changed the rules so that union certification
would require only a majority of the employees who actually vote in the
the previous rules, if an airline had 4,000 nonunion employees, 2,001 or more
(a majority of all employees) were required to approve a proposal to unionize,”
Harclerode explained. “Following the 2010 rule change, if only 1,000 of the
4,000 employees vote, and 501 vote yes, all 4,000 become subject to
called that “a fundamental change to long-standing election rules under the
Railway Labor Act” that, he said, was outside the NMB’s jurisdiction.
change in the way elections are conducted under the Railway Labor Act is
properly the authority of the United States Congress,” he said.
added that both aviation and railroad workers were already unionized at higher
rates than most business employees. About 60 percent of U.S. airline employees
and 84 percent of railroad workers are represented by unions, he said, compared
to about 7 percent of the private sector.
Tuesday, the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department and other industry
unions called the new rules undemocratic. They also argued that changes to the
methods of organizing should not be handled in the FAA bill.
crux of what’s going on is fair elections in union elections,” said former Ohio
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in a conference call arranged by the
AFL-CIO. “There is no excuse to treat union elections (differently) than other
elections. If we had an election (in Ohio) where people on the rolls but didn’t
show were counted as voting for say, the incumbent, I couldn’t certify that.
People wouldn’t trust it.”
FAA bill has been delayed for more than three years, although Mica said Tuesday
during a speech to the National Association of Counties that it would be approved
within 50 to 60 days. Prior to the union flap, Democrats had pushed the measure
as an “aviation jobs bill.”