House Rejects Obama-Backed, Pro-Union Amendment to FAA Reauthorization Bill

This afternoon, the House passed the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011. Perhaps the most contentious issue debated was a provision of the legislation that reversed a pro-union decision by the National Mediation Board (Section 903). In July 2010, the NMB — without the consent of Congress — decided that unions could organize airline and railroad workers if a majority of voting workers supported unionization, rather than a majority of all workers in the proposed bargaining unit — as had long been the case. Essentially, this means that unions can be certified as the sole bargaining agents under the Railway Labor Act with support from a minority of workers. For example, if a company has 100 workers but only 80 turn out to vote in the election, it would only take 41 pro-union votes for the union to organize the company’s workers.

Ohio Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette introduced an amendment to strike Section 903, allowing Obama’s NMB decision to stand. The amendment failed by a vote of 206-220, largely along party lines. The Obama administration has threatened to veto any FAA reauthorization legislation that reverses the NMB ruling. While voting Democratic members were unanimous in their support for the union-giveaway-preserving amendment, 16 Republicans voted in favor. They are listed below:

Rep. Diaz-Balart (FL)
Rep. Emerson (MO)
Rep. Gibson (NY)
Rep. Grimm (NY)
Rep. Johnson (IL)
Rep. Jones (NC)
Rep. King (NY)
Rep. LaTourette (OH)
Rep. LoBiondo (NJ)
Rep. Platts (PA)
Rep. Reichert (WA)
Rep. Rivera (FL)
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (FL)
Rep. Runyan (NJ)
Rep. Smith (NJ)
Rep. Young (AK)

CEI recently released a study on reforming the Railway Labor Act, which you can read here.