Resolution disapproving of union rule change fails in Senate

The U.S. Senate last week voted down a resolution opposing the National Mediation Board’s decision to change a rule that makes it easier for airline and railroad employees to unionize.

The measure failed by a 56-43 vote.

“The recognition of a union under the Railway Labor Act is essentially permanent and irrevocable, and now a minority can organize the entire bargaining unit,” U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said in a statement. “This administration simply refuses to obey the will of the majority and has chosen to overturn 75 years of precedent to grant favors to labor unions. In fact, in large measure, it seems to me this rule is a ‘card check light.’”

Critics of the new rule, announced in May, argue the National Mediation Board does not have the authority to make such a change, and one airline organization has indicated it will sue over the change.

Under the new rules, a union could form if a majority of employees who cast ballots in a union election vote to unionize. Previously, a majority of all employees needed to vote for unionization; employees who did not vote were essentially counted as a “no” vote.

The AFL-CIO requested the change in September 2009.

“There is no sound legal or policy basis for hastily changing a rule that has been in place and upheld repeatedly for over 75 years,” Isakson said. “The Obama administration’s two Democrat nominees to the National Mediation Board, in repealing a 75-year old rule without Congressional approval or adequate reasoning, have recklessly tossed aside fairness and impartiality to benefit their former bosses in the labor movement.”

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