ALG Blasts Senate for Defeating Isakson Resolution Against Union Organization by Plurality Rule

September 23rd, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today condemned the Senate for rejecting 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.”

Wilson said the rule has been changed 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.”

The final vote in the Senate was 56 to 43 against Isakson’s resolution of disapproval. The resolution was 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That is because on May 11th, 2010, the National Mediation Board repealed the so-called “Majority Rule.”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.

“The NMB’s decision clearly violates the law. 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’,” Wilson said.

“Not a majority of those voting, but a majority of the entire workforce. This part of the law is very clear. If Senators don’t like that law, they can amend it. Instead they are okay with an arbitrary executive action to change the law willy-nilly,” Wilson said, noting 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 this rule.

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.”

Wilson 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.”

Wilson said that the National Mediation Board had violated their authority under the Railway Labor Act. “By changing the rule regarding union representation elections, the NMB has committed an arbitrary action that the Senate has now condoned, ceding yet more of its rightful legislative powers to faceless bureaucrats.”

“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 bureaucracy, not by representation,” Wilson explained.

“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. And the Senate has once again proven themselves to be Big Labor’s rubber stamp through its outrageous vote today,” Wilson concluded.


National Mediation Board Rule Change Summary, Republican Senate staff, September 2010

Interview Availability: Please contact Rebekah Rast at (703) 383-0880 or at to arrange an interview with ALG President Bill Wilson.