Another Big Labor Bailout

Katie Packer reports on the effort by the airline unions to have the Obama Administration rewrite the rules that have been rejected by four previous administrations including President Clinton’s:

Airline union elections are governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). It is quite different than the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which covers unions in other industries. Contracts under the RLA are national in scope and require a majority of a workgroup to vote in a union. This reflects a long-held belief that a union can only be effective if it has the support of the majority of the employees and the fact that airlines and railroads are critical to moving U.S. commerce. A few other important facts about the RLA – there is no formal decertification process, which means it’s nearly impossible for a union to be voted out even if workers change their mind about being unionized. Workers covered by the RLA are also exempt from state right to work laws.

On September 2, 2009, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), International Association of Machinists (IAM) and other unions asked the National Mediation Board (NMB), which oversees RLA elections, to change the traditional majority rules voting process to a minority rule voting process – allowing the will of a small group of employees to dictate the fate of the entire workgroup.