Transportation Unions Oppose Union Busting Changes to Railway Labor Act as Price of FAA Reauthorization

After it was announced that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a deal with House Speaker John Boehner to make significant anti-union changes to the Railway Labor Act in return for Republican agreement to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, TCU and IAM mobilized with other unions to oppose the so-called compromise.

TCU/IAM was signatory to two statements urging the removal of the Railway Labor Act changes from the FAA Reauthorization Bill — one by ten transportation unions and an identical one signed by 19 unions from various industries.

“We remain strongly committed to passage of a clean FAA Reauthorization bill.  An aviation safety and security bill is no place to impose unrelated and controversial labor provisions that will ultimately serve to harm both airline and railroad workers.”
“Rewarding the House Republican Leadership’s desire to rewrite decades of long standing labor law in a flash by inserting an unrelated and controversial labor provision in a much needed aviation safety and security bill, without notice, hearing, or debate, sets an extremely dangerous precedent.  We urge the Senate to delete the provisions of the bill that would amend the RLA and pass the clean FAA Reauthorization that all concerned recognize this country sorely needs and supports.”

TCU/IAM President Bob Scardelletti said, “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…It makes no sense to tie changes to the Railway Labor Act to an aviation safety bill.”

The agreement between Reed and Boehner has not yet been enacted into law.
“TCU/IAM will not stand idly by and let Congress trample over our members’ rights. I urge every TCU/IAM member to call their Senator and demand that they pass a clean FAA Reauthorization Bill that does not cripple the rights of railroad and airline workers,” Scardelletti concluded.

The changes include making NMB union election rulings subject to legal challenge, upping the percentage unions need to trigger representation elections, changing merger rules to make it harder for unions to appear on ballots after a merger, and unprecedented congressional intrusion into the affairs of the National Mediation Board.

“These changes are clearly designed to punish the NMB for their courageous ruling last year to bring fairness to union representation elections by only considering actual votes cast,” said Scardelletti. “Ever since, the Republicans have declared war on the agency. And now, in a shortsighted desire to pass the FAA bill, the Democrats are prepared to throw the NMB overboard and in the process take the unprecedented step of changing the Railway Labor Act without consultation with rail labor.”

In a Washington Post Blog by Greg Sargent, he wrote, “One of the biggest requests that labor had made of Congressional Dems was this: Don’t sell out unions when the long-term Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization is renegotiated with House Republicans. Unions saw this as a top priority for 2012… This could create a headache for Congressional Dem leaders at a moment when they’re trying to unite the party behind a populist, pro-labor message heading into this year’s elections.”

Click here to find your Senator – call and tell them to pass a clean FAA bill that does not trample the rights of railroad and airline workers.
Click here to read the joint statement from the transportation unions.

Click here to read the joint statement from the 19 unions.

Click here to read the Washington Post blog article.