Even facing an impending congressional rebuke of its policies, the National Mediation Board (NMB) is working overtime to guide American workers towards inescapable union representation.
Quick recap: reversing over 75 years of regulatory precedent last spring, the NMB announced a ruling unilaterally amending the Railway Labor Act (a law that provides for special regulation of transportation workers). 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. The new 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. As the Alliance for Worker Freedom has previously reported, this policy change came about due to the efforts of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), a collective bargaining organization which tried and failed—multiple times—to unionize Delta Airlines employees. The AFA then petitioned the NMB to tilt the playing field, and the Board was only too happy to oblige.
Fortunately, these shenanigans by unelected bureaucrats haven’t completely escaped the public eye. According to Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), “the rule imposed by the NMB is nothing short of a political gimmick to circumvent the legislative process and enact meritless, big labor priorities through an unelected three person panel. Their move to radically alter these rules without any necessary reason for doing so is clearly arbitrary and motivated by the demands of big labor.” There are others who agree: yesterday the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee, led by Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) cleared corrective legislation in the form of a provision within the FAA reauthorization bill. The bill now includes a title which would undo the NMB’s so-called “minority rule.”
On the same day that the FAA bill cleared committee, the NMB issued updated guidelines for unionization votes. Surprisingly, one of the alterations made was helpful: the Board deigned to deprive unions of the right to interpret an employee’s vote for “Any Other Organization or Individual” as an endorsement for the union. That this state of affairs was only just reversed is indicative of the disconcerting priorities the Board exhibits. Despite promising advances such as these, the NMB is hemorrhaging bad regulations faster than congress can reverse them.
The NMB, NLRB, and other overgrown government agencies are driven, at their core, by an ideology which holds that the American worker is incapable of choosing the best for himself. A democratic reckoning against this radical collectivism is long overdue.