September 28th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today urged members of the House to cosponsor 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.”
“Members of the House need to stand up for the rule of law and rein in this rogue agency. The National Mediation Board cannot just make up the law,” Wilson declared.
The resolution, H.J. Res. 97, offered by Representative Phil Gingrey, would undo a May 11th, 2010 ruling by the National Mediation Board (NMB) to repeal 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, because of the NMB ruling, it only takes a majority of those voting, a considerably lower threshold. Wilson said the NMB’s decision clearly violates the law, and called on House members to support Gingrey’s resolution.
According to Section 152 of the Railway Labor Act, “The majority of any craft or class of employees shall have the right to determine who shall be the representative of the craft or class for the purposes of this chapter.”
“The language of the Railway Labor Act is clear: a majority of employees in an organizing unit have to vote to unionize. If Congress does not like that law, they can amend it, but the agency cannot just arbitrarily change it,” Wilson said.
Wilson noted that the Carter Administration had come to same conclusion in the 1970’s when it looked into the issue, which is that only Congress can change the rule. “This is not rule by elected representatives, it is rule by faceless bureaucrats doing whatever they want,” he said. “First it was the EPA with its carbon endangerment finding, and then the National Labor Relations Board moving in the direction of card check. This is rule by rogue agencies, not by representation.”
Wilson previously said the rule had been changed “most likely to allow a single union at Delta Airlines to win a unionization election they otherwise would not.” Wilson charged that the rule change most likely had been made to accommodate the merger of Delta Airlines and Northwest.
“Since the merged company is now only 40 percent union, the only way to get a union for Delta was to change the rules,” Wilson explained.
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.”
A similar resolution failed in the Senate with a final vote of 56 to 43.
Wilson has said that the old rule was justified because there is no decertification procedure under the Railway Labor Act. “Once a union is organized at an airline or railway, there is simply no way for it to be held accountable by workers. Lowering the standard for organization, without any means of decertification, is anti-democratic and simply a handout to the labor unions, tilting the playing field completely in their favor.”
“The National Mediation Board is not an independent agency that makes its own rules. It is bound by the Railway Labor Act, and Congress has a duty to overturn the Board’s decision to arbitrarily change what the law means. The rule of law depends on it,” Wilson concluded.
H.J. Res. 97, by Representative Phil Gingrey, September 2010.
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