Today the FAA Reauthorization Bill passed the House of Representatives. As ATR has previously reported, the last few weeks have seen efforts on the part of House conservatives to implement important labor reforms through provisions in and amendments to the bill. Here’s an update on how they fared:
1) Title IX. Status: passed.
Designed to repeal a National Mediation Board ruling unilaterally amending the Railway Labor Act (a law that provides for special regulation of transportation workers), which reversed over 75 years of regulatory precedent. Under the old rules, rail and air travel employees wanting to unionize had to garner a majority of votes amongst the total body of workers. Last spring’s NMB decision mandated that a union could receive a majority only of voting employees in order to be certified, raising the possibility that a tiny minority of workers could compel an entire workforce to unionize against the will of its greater part. Title IX restores the old standard, while mandating a yearly audit of the NMB. Congratulations to the House for this one: now the regulators-in-chief know they’re being watched.
2) Amendment No. 18 (Federal Employee Accountability Act) Status: failed.
Designed to prevent government employees from conducting union-related activities while on the clock. Had it passed, Rep. Gingrey’s (R-Ga.) amendment would have preserved “official time” from “the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement, if commenced before suchdate of enactment; any proceeding before the Federal Labor Relations Authority, if commenced before such date of enactment; or any other matter pending on such date of enactment, in connection with which any official time has been used or granted before such date.” According to the Office of Personnel Management, FY 2008 saw union business eat up 3 million hours of federal employees’ time, totaling $120 million in wasted taxpayer funds. Passage should have been a no-brainer; one wonders if the representatives who opposed it would be just as eager to allow their staffers to waste work hours on personal business.
For the record, here are a few Republicans who should have known better:
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla. 21st)
Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo. 8th)
Chris Gibson (R-N.Y. 20th)
Michael Grimm (R-N.Y. 13th)
Tim Johnson (R-Ill. 15th)
Walter B. Jones (R-N.C. 3rd)
Pete King (R-N.Y. 3rd)
Steven C. LaTourette (R-Ohio 14th)
Frank LoBiondo (R-N.Y. 2nd)
Todd Russell Platts (R-Pa. 19th)
David Reichert (R-Wash. 8th)
David Rivera (R-Fla. 25th)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla. 18th)
Jon Runyan (R.-N.J. 3rd)
Chris Smith (R-N.J. 4th)
Don Young (R-Alaska: at large)