September 12, 2008—The National Mediation Board has withdrawn its proposal to “clarify” policy about how union representation is handled in a merger when one party is unionized and the other is not.
Unions including TCU and the IAM had protested the plan to change current practices, saying the move by the NMB would make it harder for the unionized work force and that this ‘clarification’ clearly involved the ongoing merger of Northwest and Delta. “Due to the concerns and confusion expressed by the commenting parties, the board has decided that it will not implement the manual revision proposals at the current time,” NMB General Counsel Mary L. Johnson said.
As a representative of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department said when the plan was first announced, it “looked like the board was working in advance of the election to make it harder to keep unions at merged airlines.”
The board’s three members are appointed by the President, two from one party, one from the other. In this instance, the single Democratic appointee, Harry Hoglander, publicly opposed the key part of the plan on the basis that it made it appear that the NMB was “biased in favor of carriers in general, and Delta Airlines in particular.”