Voting Rights Still Key to FAA Reauthorization

The short-term deal to get the FAA back in operation expires on September 16, 2011, and House GOP leaders are vowing to keep up their attacks on transportation worker voting rights that caused the almost two-week shutdown.

House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) was willing to let the FAA shutdown to block the new democratic election rules put in place by the National Mediation Board (NMB). Mica inserted language to overturn the new rules in the House version of the FAA Reauthorization bill. By insisting on his version even in the face of the FAA shutdown, Mica put thousands of workers on furlough and cost the government hundreds of millions in lost ticket-tax revenue.

The new NMB representation election rules say winners are decided by a majority of people who actually vote, just like all other elections in the U.S. If the old NMB rules that count anyone who doesn’t vote as a “no” vote were applied to federal elections, not a single member of Congress would have won their last election.

The House and Senate must still come up with a final FAA funding bill before temporary funding runs out in September. “The House has made it clear that the anti-worker piece is a priority for them and they also put us on notice that they don’t intend to give in,” a spokesman for Sen. Jay Rockefeller, (D-WV)., chairman of a committee that oversees FAA, told the Associated Press. “So we are bracing for a new fight in September.”

To block Mica’s power-play, voters must demand that the Democratic majority in the Senate stand up for transportation workers. Click here to send a message to Congress to protect worker voting rights in the FAA Reauthorization bill.