Obama Threatens Veto If Congress Strips Pro-Union Election Rules in FAA Bill

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.

[via HuffPo]

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 (the same union calling for airline re-regulation) 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


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  • Are you ignorant or just plain stupid? Using your logic all those who didn’t vote in the last election actually voted against McCain and for Obama or vice versa. Is that how it works these days. To put it in language you might understand I guess if only 10 million Americans read your editorial and post positive comments then the other 300 million (plus or minus) must not agree with you. Is that your logic? If so you’d better stop writing/posting because not many agree with you.

    Those who choose not to vote choose to be represented by those who do vote. That’s the American way and has been for quite some time. Using your faulty logic if voter turn-out is low I guess most of our Senators and Representatives won’t be going to D.C. since not voting equates to a No vote right? I guess perhaps the Tea Party candidates really didn’t win.

    Just because the rules were wrong before (for 75 years) doesn’t mean changing them back makes it right. I have to wonder just how “American” you are if the rules only apply to some elections and not to others. It says a lot about your readers if they agree with your belief that elections should be rigged so that those who neglect their civic duty have so much power.

    Take care…

    American, Union member and proud of it.

    • Your argument is not far off. Though union elections are different, the similarities to having populous states like CA, FL, NY, etc. controlling the outcome of an election to “hub” cities controlling what happens in “spoke” cities is very close.

      The analogy used (not voting is analogous to voting for unionization, as it is less votes a union needs) is accurate.

    • So let me get this straight, 75 years of precedence submitted to by union and management means nothing… but when there is a chance for a major airline to go from the union grip… oops game changer… got to change the playing field and tip it to union favor.

      Or let me get this straight, once the vote has happened with over 90% voting and the union still gets voted down then we cry some more and get congress to disrupt thousands of lives of the workers at Delta both non union and former union from moving on with their live. And we shut down part of the FAA which affects thousands of families and construction projects that could be gainfully employing thousands more.. because we lost and are cant take it. Come on you got your rule change and you still lost… stop the cry baby routine and move on.

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