Voting Rules, Interference Stymie Delta Workers

Despite a high number of votes for the IAM, the election for 91 flight simulator technicians at the recently merged Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines was declared invalid by the NMB when fewer than 50 percent plus one of eligible employees participated in the Internet and telephone voting. The Machinists Union received 40 of the 43 valid votes cast.

Delta Air Lines interfered in the election process in violation of the Railway Labor Act and IAM attorneys are reviewing what steps to take next. This matter is not closed.

Unlike traditional political elections in the U.S., as well as representation elections for workers covered by the National Labor Relations Act, a simple majority of votes cast is not sufficient to prevail in elections for the nation’s air and rail employees.

In addition to a 50 percent plus one participation requirement, the current NMB rules count all un-cast ballots as votes against union representation.