The labor fighting brewing in Washington is heating up, as some Republicans in the House seem to be having second thoughts about making it harder for aviation and railworkers to organize. At issue is the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill and a provision in it that would overturn a ruling by the National Mediation Board regarding elections in those unions. Until last year’s decision by the NMB, if an eligible voter did not vote in a union representation election, her vote was automatically counted as an active vote against representation.
Just to be clear, a non-vote was not only considered a no vote, but was actually tallied as a no vote. Which in any election in the country would be considered vote fraud. Back to the FAA reauthorization, and the provision House Transportation Committee chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) to overturn that ruling and reinstitute vote fraud in union representation elections. Mica’s career $620,000 donations from the airline industry might have something to do with his inclusion of this controversial provision in the bill.
The controversy is increasing for Republicans, according to TPM’s Brian Beutler, as some of them are opposed to this measure, including a handful who voted in committee with Democrats to strip the provision from the bill…..
An amendment that would have stripped this provision, written by Jerry Costello (D-IL), failed by one vote in the transportation committee.The margin was so thin because three Republicans—Tim Johnson (R-IL), Candice Miller (R-MI), and Frank LoBiondo (R-NY)—voted with the Democrats on that amendment. If they and other Republicans team with Democrats, they’ll have opportunities down the line to strike the anti-union language.
“I don’t know what [Costello's] going to do — whether he’s going to call that amendment for a vote on the floor or not,” Johnson told me. “But I thought it was good public policy. It seemed to me to make good balanced sense in light of the purpose of the bill. I wouldn’t consider a union versus management issue, I just considered it a good common sense bill.”
…In committee, Miller, a former secretary of state, argued that unionization votes should be tallied democratically.
“It’s not pro-union, it’s not anti-union, it’s about fairness,” she insisted.
That sentiment could spread as the backlash against the Wisconsin GOP and its overreach in breaking the rules to pass their anti-union legislation grows. But realistically, the chances of the provision being stripped in the full House—even with the help of these Republicans—seem slim. However, as Beutler notes, the very fact that there is not a unified GOP in the House on this one suggests that there’s a greater opportunity to strip it out in conference when the House and Senate reconcile their bills.
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