Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Airlines Against Democracy


Airlines Against Democracy

by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Pat Garofalo, and Alex Seitz-Wald

Last week, the National Mediation Board (NMB) ## which is tasked with overseeing labor-management relations under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) ## issued a ruling making elections for union representation more democratic. Previously, under the RLA (which governs railroads and airlines), workers who did not cast votes in an election were counted as having voted against unionization. Now, however, they will simply not be counted at all, like non-voters in any election for political office. The change brings the RLA’s process into line with elections held under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which covers most workplaces. The NMB said that the change “will provide a more reliable measure/indicator of employee sentiment in representation disputes and provide employees with clear choices in representation matters.” “The board will no longer presume that the failure or refusal of an eligible employee to vote is a vote against representation,” it added. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said that the NMB’s ruling represents “a new era of democracy.” “For far too long, flight attendants and other aviation and railway employees have faced significant obstacles in their quest for collective bargaining rights,” it said. However, since the ruling came down, the affected companies and their pro-corporate allies have been in an uproar, defending the antiquated previous rule, which unfairly tilted the playing field against workers trying to organize.

AIRLINES LAUNCH LAWSUIT: After the NMB announced the rule change, the Air Transport Association (ATA), an industry trade group, said it would be launching a lawsuit on behalf of several airlines. “It is quite clear to us that the NMB was determined to proceed despite the proposed rule’s substantive and procedural flaws, leaving us no choice but to seek judicial review,” the ATA said. The airlines joining the lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C., yesterday include Jet Blue, AirTran Airways, and Delta Airlines, which arguably has the most to gain by preventing the rule change as its labor force is largely non-union. Delta has been trying to fend off unionization since it acquired largely unionized Northwest Airlines in 2008. “We believe that Delta and Delta people have been singled out for this rule change,” Mike Campbell, Delta executive vice president of human resources and labor relations, said in a memo yesterday. But as United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard noted, the old rule provided a huge incentive for airlines like Delta to inflate the size of their workforce in order to garner more automatic votes against unionization. “This created an incentive for employers to ‘accidentally’ include the names of workers who’d quit or retired,” he wrote. “Writing about losing an election in 2008, Delta flight attendant Linda Sorenson said airline officials released [their] list after the balloting. Among other problems, it included the name of a deceased worker.” This is not the first time that Delta has engaged in anti-union activity. In 2005, Delta attempted to void pilot contracts in bankruptcy court, but Judge Prudence Beatty said “one can talk about union busting and that is precisely what this kind of motion has the taint of.”

GOP DISAPPROVAL: Several Republican lawmakers immediately criticized the NMB’s decision…….

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Richard Korn for Delaware State Auditor Announcement Tour


Please join Richard, Maggie and Alexandra on Richard’s Three County Announcement Tour for State Auditor

Richard Korn for State Auditor Three County Announcement Tour (Sussex)

Saturday, May 22nd 12:00 noon

The Brick Hotel on the Circle

Eighteen The Circle

Georgetown, Delaware 19947

Richard Korn for State Auditor Three County Announcement Tour (Kent)

Saturday, May 22nd 2:30pm

Belmont Hall State Conference Center‎
512 South Dupont Boulevard (new Route 13)
Smyrna, DE 19977

Richard Korn for State Auditor Three County Announcement Tour (New Castle)

Sunday, May 23rd 4:00pm

Sheetmetal Workers Local 19 Union Hall

911 New Road (Next to Corpus Christi Elementary School in Elsmere)

Wilmington, DE 19805