Monday, May 4, 2015

Federal board eases rules for airline, rail unionizing

The airline industry, or at least some of its leaders, is apoplectic this morning over a 2-1 vote by the Natiional Mediation Board that would make it easier for airline and rail workers to join a union. This little-known agency, created as a way to prevent labor disputes from shutting down the nation's transportation system, ruled that a majority of all workers at an airline or railroad could determine if they wanted union representation. Previously, a union could be rejected if only a majority of the employees who voted in an election -- not all the workers -- opposed representation. Under the old rule, not voting was counted as a "no" vote against unionization.

Federal board eases rules for airline, rail unionizing

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The airline industry, or at least some of its leaders, is apoplectic this morning over a 2-1 vote by the Natiional Mediation Board that would make it easier for airline and rail workers to join a union. This little-known agency, created as a way to prevent labor disputes from shutting down the nation's transportation system, ruled that a majority of all workers at an airline or railroad could determine if they wanted union representation. Previously, a union could be rejected if only a majority of the employees who voted in an election -- not all the workers -- opposed representation. Under the old rule, not voting was counted as a "no" vote against unionization.  

The Air Transport Association and others contend that the NMB overstepped its authority and that only Congress could change rule unionization rules. We will see what happens next. For now, read more details about the decision here. 

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About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

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