As readers of this blog know, earlier this year the National Mediation Board, the agency responsible for enforcing federal labor laws in the railroad and airline industry, changed its union election rules. Under the old rule, a majority of all employees the union sought to represent was required for the union to win. Under the new rule, only a majority of those voting in the election is required for a union victory.
As that rule change was pending, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R.-Ga.) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 30 in an effort to override it. The Resolution noted Congress’ disapproval of the rule change and provided that it would "have no force or effect."
The Resolution was stuck in committee until earlier this week when a parliamentary procedure known as a discharge petition got it placed on the Senate calendar. A vote took place yesterday on another parliamentary procedure referred to as a motion to proceed. The vote broke down largely among partisan lines with all of the Republicans voting in favor of proceeding with consideration of the Resolution, and all but three Democrats voting against.
Interestingly, some Democratic Senators who have voiced opposition to EFCA also voted in favor of the Resolution. Senators Lincoln and Pryor of Arkansas and Senator Nelson of Nebraska all voted in favor of the motion to proceed.
Labor professionals in the airline and railroad industries were likely not banking on the success of this legislation. It’s failure is not at all surprising given the current partisan divide in Washington, D.C. Thus, labor professionals should expect that efforts to "get out the vote" in airline elections will remain just as significant as those efforts are in union elections under the National Labor Relations Act.