09.21.2010 0

The U.S. Senate Should Support Isakson Resolution Against Union Organization

Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today urged the Senate to support a resolution of disapproval against a National Mediation Board rule that allows for union organization at railways and airlines with less than a majority of employees voting “yes.”

The resolution of disapproval is being proposed by Senator Johnny Isakson, who in The Hill wrote, “The Obama administration’s decision to repeal this rule means that now a minority of the bargaining unit can organize — permanently — the entire organizing unit.”

“The National Mediation Board simply does not have the legal authority to make such a radical change without Congressional authorization,” Isakson stated in a press release. “With this rule change, a union could be permanently recognized without a majority of employees having ever supported representation.”

That is because on May 11th, 2010, the National Mediation Board repealed the so-called “Majority Rule.” Under the old rule, it took a majority of an organizing unit voting “yes” to permanently organize a union. Now, it only takes a majority of those voting, a considerably lower threshold.

Isakson wrote in The Hill, “[U]nder the Majority Rule, if a bargaining unit had 6,000 employees, 3,001 must have voted for a union to organize the unit. However, under the new rule, if only 1,000 of 6,000 vote, and 501 of those 1,000 vote yes, all 6,000 are permanently unionized, even if a majority of them become disenchanted with the union leadership.”

Isakson’s resolution is expected to have an up-or-down vote on Thursday under expedited rules.
Wilson said the rule change most likely had been made to accommodate the merger of Delta Airlines and Northwest. “The new company is 40 percent union, and most of that is from the Northwest employees. Since they didn’t already have a majority, the only way to get a union for the whole company was to change the rules to accommodate a decades-long effort by Big Labor to unionize Delta.”

According to CNN Money, “Unlike its competitors, Delta employees have declined to join labor unions in the past, priding themselves on having great relationships with the company and enjoying the freedom to negotiate contracts with managers one on one.”

Wilson said that the National Mediation Board had violated their authority under the Railway Labor Act, urging the Senate to “uphold the original intent of the law, which never included allowing a minority of workers at a company to unionize. The National Mediation Board has clearly stepped out of its statutory role as a neutral arbiter, and into being an advocate on behalf of union organizers.”

Wilson’s sentiments echoed those of the Chair of the National Mediation Board, Elizabeth Dougherty, who in her dissent wrote, “Regardless of the composition of the board or the inhabitant of the White House, this independent agency has never been in the business of making controversial, one-sided rule changes at the behest of only labor or management.”

Wilson said this was “just the latest example of an agency seizing the power to legislate from Congress,” concluding, “First it was the EPA with the carbon endangerment finding. Then the National Labor Relations Board opening the door for card check. And now the National Mediation Board allowing for unionization with less than majority support.”

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