IAM and TCU/IAM leaders issued statements criticizing a Congressional proposal that provides long-term Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding at the expense of airline and rail workers’ rights to join unions:
“While the Machinists Union supports FAA reauthorization and the vital infrastructure investments it will provide, the Machinists strongly oppose the flawed labor proposal that jeopardizes the independence of the National Mediation Board (NMB),” said IAM Transportation GVP Sito Pantoja.
The proposal imposes Congressionally-mandated standards for union representation elections and oversight that have always been up to independent federal labor authorities to decide.
“In developing this greatly flawed proposal there was no consultation with rail labor or management, the two groups who worked with Congress to write the Railway Labor Act more than 75 years ago,” said Robert Scardelletti, National President of the Transportation Communications Union/IAM (TCU/IAM). “It makes no sense to tie changes to the Railway Labor Act to an aviation safety bill.”
Included in the FAA Reauthorization bill are changes to the Railway Labor Act, the federal labor law covering airline and railroad workers, which would require the support of at least 50 percent of an employee group before a union representation election could be held. Currently, there is no statutory requirement, but National Mediation Board policy sets a 35 percent threshold. Other private sector workers who fall under the National Labor Relations Act need only 30 percent to trigger an election.
While the proposal requires the NMB to hold public hearings before changing its rules, this very proposal imposes new standards on the NMB without the benefit of any such public hearing.