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House Votes to Reject Union Boss-Backed FAA Amendment On Air & Rail Elections

Earlier today, the House of Representatives voted down (220-206) the union-backed LaTourette [R-OH] Amendment to the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011. The Amendment was designed to strip language from the bill that would return the 75-year old standards by which ballots are counted in union elections in the air and rail industries.

[via the Hill]

The House on Friday morning rejected a controversial amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization bill that would have made it easier to form air and rail unions. Failure to pass the amendment will make it much harder to win Senate passage of the FAA bill and sets up a likely veto of the bill even if the Senate were to approve it.

The amendment, from Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), would have allowed a National Mediation Board (NMB) decision from 2010 to stand. That decision allowed unions to be formed based only on the votes of voting workers. Prior to last year’s change, non-voting workers were counted as “no” votes.

The FAA bill, H.R. 658, repeals the NMB decision, and LaTourette’s amendment would have removed this language from the bill. Earlier this week, the White House warned it would veto the FAA bill unless the labor language was removed.

Only 16 Republicans voted for the LaTourette amendment, which failed in a 206-220 vote.

As the manner by which air and rail employees are unionized differs from other industries, last year’s National Mediation Board change made it easier to unionize companies with simple majority vote counts [non-voters essentially become union votes, as there are less votes a union needs to win]. As a result, union bosses fought hard to get the LaTourette Amendment passed. Without the LaTorrette Amendment passed, should the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act pass and get signed into law (which is still questionable), union bosses will be required to spend more resources encouraging voter participation, rather than discouraging it.

For background on this issue, go here and here.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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