Victory for Worker Freedom
Lee Doren, 202-331-2259
Nicole Ciandella, 202-331-2773
Washington, D.C., April 1, 2011 – The Competitive Enterprise Institute commends the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who stood up for workers’ freedom of association today. The House rejected a privilege for organized labor that was recently enacted by a politicized National Mediation Board (NMB), without any say from Congress.
The Board oversees the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which regulates labor relations in the nation’s railroad and airline industries. Under the Act’s longstanding voting rule, a union needed to win votes from a majority of workers in a proposed bargaining unit. However, in July 2010, the Board, dominated by Obama appointees, changed the rule to require a union to only need to get a majority of votes cast. This made it possible for a union to be certified as the collective bargaining agent for a group of workers with only a minority of those workers voting for union representation.
The FAA Reauthorization Act’s (H.R. 658) Section 903 restores the RLA’s original voting rule, which had stood for over 70 years. The LaTourette amendment (H.AMDT.229), which would have removed Section 903 from the bill, was voted down by the House (220-206) today.
CEI Labor Policy Analyst Ivan Osorio stated:
“The House’s rejection of the LaTourette amendment will help restore a degree of choice for workers on the decision of whether to join a union or not. However, much still needs to be done to improve the Railway Labor Act—including a right to work provision, a mechanism for members to be able to deduct the portion of their dues going to politics, and a straightforward decertification process.”