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President Obama's Other Labor Board Is Forcing Workers to Unionize


Most Americans have heard of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) through its ill-conceived scheme to prevent Boeing from building a new plant in South Carolina because the Palmetto State has a right-to-work law. The board’s actions have created a huge backlash against the Obama Administration and its pro-Big Labor policies.

But how much do most Americans know about Obama’s other labor board?

Most Americans haven’t heard of President Obama’s other labor board, the National Mediation Board (NMB). This board is specifically focused on labor relations between the railroad and airline industries. And just like the NLRB, the NMB is aggressively pushing Big Labor’s agenda.

Last July, the NMB overturned nearly a century of precedent and issued a new pro-union rule regarding union elections. Instead of requiring the traditional democratic practice of a simple majority of members to unionize, now the rules only require a majority of votes cast for unionization.

If a company has 2,000 workers and only 400 people vote but 201 of them are pro-union, the entire workforce of 2,000 people are forced to unionize. Couple that with the fact that it is nearly impossible to decertify a union, and those 201 votes in effect mandate unionization for good.

Now we are seeing Big Labor take advantage of this new rule. The Hill reports:

A Washington, D.C.-based union group has filed paperwork vying to represent flight attendants for Virgin America airlines. The Transport Workers Union, which represents employees at airlines including United, American and Southwest, said Monday it has submitted a petition calling for a vote on unionization at Virgin America to the National Mediation Board (NMB).

The TWU is also pushing to organize workers at JetBlue Airlines. Additionally, flight attendants at AirTran Airways will join the group as aresult of that company’s merger with Southwest Airlines.

Under current rules, the NMB must schedule an election within 45 days of receive a petition for a union vote.

House Republicans are making efforts to prevent the forced unionization by a small minority of workers from taking place. In the midst of larger negotiations over the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the NMB union election rules are playing a major role. The Journal of Commerce reports:

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica said he will take “every measure that’s needed” to pass a four-year authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration by the end of the year.

The House and Senate agree on major points of reauthorization and are ready to settle on funding, but there are still a “half dozen issues pending,” said Mica, R-Fla., on Monday. Disagreements continue over proposed rural air subsidy cuts and changes in National Mediation Board rules to make it easier for unions to organize airline workers.

On the latter issue, Mica said he was willing to have “equal-in, equal-out” provisions, which would balance the rules governing union certification and decertification.

Negotiations on a final bill have stalled so that Congress has had to approve 22 extensions of the previous FAA law since it expired in 2007. The latest FAA extension expires March 31.

So while the NLRB is currently getting all the headlines and attention, look for the NMB to start sharing the spotlight soon. As more people hear about the NMB and its work for Big Labor, people will agree that we need Chairman Mica to work out a deal to prevent the forced unionization of our airlines and railroads by a minority of union-lackeys.


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