Vote on FAA Reauthorization is Attack on Workers' Bargaining Rights

CWA's ad in Politico commends House and Senate Democrats who voted against legislation that destroys airline and railway workers' bargaining and organizing rights.

The 157 House and 15 Senate Democrats who voted no on the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization made it clear: democracy isn't a choice between jobs and workers' rights.

The bill passed both houses of Congress, however, and CWA immediately made clear that we will fight back and "we will remember those champions who stood with us this week."

A two-page ad in Politico, the Capitol Hill newspaper, made sure that members of Congress got the message.

"With this vote, House and Senate majorities caved in to the ideological agenda of Delta Air Lines and the 1 percent. This should have been a jobs bill, not the opportunity for an ideological assault by radical politicians. Workers shouldn't have to choose between jobs and their rights on the job," CWA said.

In the House, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, George Miller and other leaders fought back against the destruction of transportation workers' rights, with 155 Democratic colleagues, stood up for democracy. In the Senate 15 Democratic Senators rejected the measure that makes it even harder for workers to gain union representation.

Now, instead of 35 percent, more than a majority of workers must show support for a union to even trigger the start of the election process, and that list of union-eligible workers is generated by management. It's a particularly high threshold to meet when two airlines are merging and one carrier has union representation but the other does not.

Private sector union elections governed by the National Labor Relations Act require that 30 percent of workers show interest in a union to trigger an election.

This new majority plus standard to trigger an election was included in the law, but the rule that finally put a majority vote election standard in place -- where the outcome is determined by the majority of those voting, and not counting non-voters as no votes -- was not.

Over the past five years, Congress has been limping along, passing short-term extensions of the FAA Reauthorization, but not finalizing the funding bill. Republicans, driven by ideology, never stopped trying to overturn the rule change put in place in 2010 by the National Mediation Board, that instituted a majority vote election standard for union elections in transportation.

Republicans shut the FAA down at least twice, stopping critical airport construction projects and throwing thousands out of work, in an effort to strip out the democratic majority vote standard.