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Transportation Unions unhappy with FAA legislation

03.04.12

FEBRUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Transportation Unions unhappy with FAA legislation

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 2nd- The labor organizations that represent workers employed in transporation are disappointed with Democratic party leadership compromise on proposed amendments as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) re-authorization bill.

In late summer 2011, there was a partial shutdown of the FAA because of the failure of Congress to agree on a new re-authorization plan mostly because of several anti-union proposals introduced by Republicans.

Congressional Republican’s attempted to overturn National Mediation Board (NMB) rule changes adopted by the in 2010 that was designed to hold union elections within the industry to the same basic principles as other elections in the nation.

Congress did agree to a short-term funding extension that provided funds for the FAA until January, 2012. However, the issue was again front and center after congress returned from the holiday recess.

The amendments to the Railway Labor Act is part of the FAA re-authorization bill and according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union, the new bill is a direct attack on the NMB 75 years of expertise in conducting representation elections in the air and rail industries.

The CWA stated GOP House members insisted last year that the FAA funding legislation include an unrelated union-busting provision that would change the rules for union elections overseen by the NMB. The Republicans wanted a rule that would allow workers that did not cast ballots in union elections be counted as “no” votes, rather than ballots actually cast.

Under the compromise that was reached between Democratic Senate Speaker Harry Reid, and Republican House Speaker John Boehner, new roadblocks for employees seeking union representation will be implemented.

“Despite the reports that the proposed changes represent a ‘compromise’ between Congressional leaders, the proposal is a compromise in name only and would have the effect of rewarding House Republicans’ union-busting and intransigence,” said Shane Larson, CWA Legislative Director.

The new agreement would require that at least 50 percent of employees must sign authorization cards just to have an union election. Also, management controls the lists of terminated and furloughed employees that could be counted as eligible voters.

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