A Key Vote Letter: Labor Policy is Congress’ Responsibility

By March 31, 2011Labor Unions

The National Association of Manufacturers has just issued a “Key Vote” letter urging House members to vote against the LaTourette/Costello amendment to H.R. 658, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act. The amendment would, in effect, endorse the National Mediation Board’s attempt to replace Congress as the policymaking branch of government when it comes to labor policy.

The NAM letter states:

Manufacturers are deeply concerned with efforts to implement major changes to our nation’s labor laws outside of Congress through executive branch actions. The National Mediation Board’s (NMB) decision to promulgate new rules related to union elections runs contrary to the intent of the Railway Labor Act (RLA) and is an attempt to circumvent the legislative process. We support Section 903 of H.R. 658, which would repeal the NMB’s 2010 rule.

The RLA requires a majority of all eligible employees to affirmatively choose to allow a labor union to collectively bargain on their behalf. Unfortunately, the NMB’s 2010 final rule would recognize unions if only a simple majority of employees voting in a union representation election chose to certify the union. This change allows a minority of employees in a given class to determine union representation for all covered employees. Such an approach runs counter to decades of labor law precedent and skews the careful balance inherent in federal labor law.

In order to promote fair and equitable labor relations that protect the rights of all workers, an affirmative change – from a non-union to union workplace – should require an affirmative majority vote from those eligible to vote. Employees who choose not to participate in elections are in effect choosing not to join a union, and this should not be considered a de facto vote for union representation.

Key Vote letters are approved by a committee made of representative manufacturers are used by the NAM to determine a member of Congress’ support for manufacturing.

Earlier post: “Restore Precedent, Representation to Transportation Union Votes

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