CEI Vote Score Alert: FAA Amendment on Union Election Rule Change

What: LaTourette – Costello Amendment # 3 to the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 H.R. 658

CEI Position: No

Washington, D.C., March 30, 2011 — The Competitive Enterprise Institute announced today that it will update its Congressional Labor Scorecard with scores for Members’ votes on a proposed amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 658). The amendment, brought by Reps. Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH) and Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) to the floor this week, seeks to remove Section 903 from the bill. Section 903 would reverse the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) unilateral change of the Railway Labor Act’s voting rules for union organizing elections—a change which the NMB carried out without approval from Congress.

Representatives will receive a positive score by voting No on the amendment.

CEI’s Labor Scorecard is presented on CEI’s labor policy site, WorkplaceChoice.org.

The National Mediation Board oversees the Railway Labor Act, which regulates labor relations in the nation’s railroad and airlines industries. Prior to the change, a majority of all workers in a bargaining unit needed to vote in favor of a union before that union could be certified as those workers’ exclusive bargaining agent.

The NMB amended the RLA voting rule to require only a majority of votes cast. This makes it possible for a union to become certified with only a minority of the workers it purports to represent voting for it.

For example, if a union tries to organize a bargaining unit of 100 workers, and only 80 vote, the union would only need 41 votes to be certified as the bargaining agent for all 100 workers—including the 59 who never voted for union representation.

Section 903 in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 658) would restore the more equitable original voting rule—which had been the law for 75 years.

With Congress having rejected legislation to tilt the playing field in favor of unions, such as the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, the Obama administration is now pursuing unionization through regulation. Congress now faces an opportunity to reassert its authority over unelected bureaucrats.

For more on this issue, read “The Case for Reform of the Railway Labor Act” by Russ Brown and Ivan Osorio.