Machinists Respond to NMB Rule Change

The National Mediation Board (NMB) had published in the Federal Register its final change to rules governing representation elections conducted under the Railway Labor Act. The complete text of the rule change is available here.

“Thousands of Machinists Union members and hundreds of members of Congress told the NMB that it was time to end its 75-year practice of imposing a viewpoint on people who, either by choice or by chance, do not participate in representation elections,” said IAM General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “IAM attorneys will evaluate this new rule to determine its impact on several upcoming elections in the air and rail industry.”

Under the NMB’s previous election guidelines, 50+1 of eligible voters in an election were required to participate in the election in order for the NMB to certify a union. Anyone who did not cast a vote was automatically considered to have voted against union representation. In contrast, union representation elections conducted under the National Labor Relations Act, as well as all other public elections, are decided by a simple majority of those who actually cast a ballot.

The NMB’s new rule will take effect 30 days after being published in the Federal Register.

The Machinists Union is the largest air and rail union in North America, representing more than 130,000 workers covered by the Railway Labor Act. More information about the Machinists Union is available at

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