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Why NMB Union Elections are Different than Congressional Elections


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Monday, March 28th, 2011, 11:24 AM PERMALINK


Originally posted at WorkerFreedom.org.

Click here for a PDF copy.

With the imminent FAA Reauthorization bill containing a provision to annul the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) Minority Rule decision, it is imperative that Members understand what exactly Title IX in the FAA bill does. In short, it reflects the principle that Congress should determine and legislate significant changes in labor law, not unelected agency appointees.

The three-member NMB—two of whom are former union officials—ruled in 2010 that a majority of voting members were required to certify a union at airlines and railroads, not a majority of all members of a workforce. This move to facilitate unionization and overturn seventy-five years of labor law, supported by both parties, encapsulates concerns about federal overreach.

In response to these concerns, unions and their political allies have claimed that the “The NMB is applying the same rules to union elections that are used for congressional elections.” This is profoundly misleading. Union elections and Congressional elections are fundamentally different in numerous ways:
 
Tenure- Unlike Congresspersons or Senators who must stand for re-election every two or six years, transportation unions may never again be subject to another election. Due to the NMB’s arcane, pro-union rules, union certifications continue indefinitely, and while one union can replace another, no large airline or rail workgroup (with more than 400 members) has ever been able to vote to eliminate union representation. That is why, even under the traditional voting rules, the percentage of employees subject to union representation at airlines (60%) and railroads (84%), has been so much higher than the average in the private sector (7%). With no imminent election, it becomes impossibly difficult for workers to hold their union accountable
 
Voting- Unlike elections for government officials, union elections at airlines and railroads typically last for four to six weeks giving workers ample time to vote—workers can vote from any computer or telephone they choose to use, from their home or anywhere else! Claims by unions that workers who have a family emergency or fall ill will be silenced are intentionally misleading.
 
Electoral Mulligan- In a recent Delta election where workers voted against unionization, unions have run to the NMB claiming foul play—thereby necessitating another election. Some of the unions’ more ridiculous claims are that Delta encouraged too many people to vote and that union polling showed they should win. Imagine having to hold another election because your get-out-the-vote drive was too successful or because your opponent’s poll showed they would win. Furthermore, what if the people who get to determine whether to overturn the election results are three politically appointed board members—two of which are from your opponent’s party.
 
Forced Support- Once elected, transportation unions force their “members” to pay monthly dues. If a worker refuses to pay the union, well, they are fired—membership is not optional. State right-to-work laws do not apply under the Railway Labor Act. Even if I disagree with my Representative, I am not forced to cut him monthly checks simply because he is my Representative.
 
AWF urges Members to oppose all measures to strip Title IX out of
the FAA Reauthorization Bill

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