As noted on Tuesday, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act is scheduled for a vote today. However, the White House is now stating that it is likely the President will veto the legislation if a provision that gives union bosses the ability to more easily unionize airline (and railroad) employees is not removed.
In a big boost to union activists, the White House on Wednesday night threatened to veto a major Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill should it include a provision that would alter the way rail or aviation workers can unionize.
In a statement of administration policy offered by the Office of Management in Budget, the White House made clear its opposition to an amendment that would revert the law back to its previous language, making it so that if an eligible voter fails to vote for union representation, he or she would be tallied against representation.
Under election rules established less than a year ago, in the dark of night by two pro-union National Mediation Board members (both of whom are former union bosses themselves), 75 years worth of precedent on how union election ballot counts are conducted were thrown out the window.
Not surprisingly, the rule change highly favored unions seeking to unionize airline (and railroad) employees due to the nature in which the airline industry is structured with 'hub' cities. As a result of the "simple majority" balloting process, unions can spend less time and money in organizing hub cities where there are greater numbers of airline employees, while ignoring 'spoke' cities that are more spread out. As a result, if employees in the 'spoke' cities do not participate their non-votes mean that unions need one less vote to win. In essence, not voting under the NMB's new rules is like voting for unionization. Practically speaking, as long as there is less than full participation, the rule change enables unions to win more elections with a minority of employees voting to unionize—which is just how union bosses want to keep it.
Here are a couple cases in point:
On Monday (as was noted), the International Association of Machinists won an election to represent 2,900 employees at AirTran. The union won despite the fact that 1,906 (nearly 66%) of AirTran’s employees did not vote for unionization. In fact, 36% of the employees did not vote at all. Yet, all 2,900 employees are now unionized.
Last November, as cited in the American Spectator, the Communications Workers of America also took advantage of the new rule.
On November 5, 2010, in an election under the new rules, passenger service agents at Piedmont Airlines voted on whether to join the Communication Workers of America (CWA). CWA did not win the 50 percent-plus-one of votes of all members of the bargaining unit [sic] required under the old rules, yet was certified as the employees' bargaining agent. Out of 2,867 eligible voters, CWA won 1,107 votes, with only 638 No votes. Thus, 1,760 employees who did not vote for CWA representation will thenceforth be required to pay dues to the union.
Despite the attempt of union bosses to use an amendment introduced by House members Steve LaTourette (R-OH) and Jerry Costello (D-IL) to remove the language reverting the election process to its 75-year precedence, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act does stand a good chance of passing.
Unfortunately, now, with President Obama threatening to veto the legislation to cater to his union cronies, its future is far less than certain.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776