Letter to the House Opposing Anti-worker Provisions in FAA Bill
February 02, 2012
On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we would like to express our deep concern regarding provisions in the FAA reauthorization bill that would undermine employees’ choice to have union representation and make it harder for a union to win representation on the property.
NEA strongly supports legislation that advances the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain and strongly oppose any efforts to weaken these rights. The right to organize and join a union is, for most employees, a fundamental employment protection under federal and state “labor” laws. America’s labor unions have led the fight for working families, winning protections such as the 8-hour day and the 40-hour week, overtime rights, and access to health care and retirement security. Today, the fight continues both to retain these vital rights and to ensure a fair minimum wage, and a safe and healthy workplace.Workers in unions earn 28 percent higher wages on average, and are 62 percent more likely to have employer-covered health coverage.
The provisions in question in the FAA bill would be devastating to workers’ rights and labor relations. First, these controversial provisions take away the right for a secret ballot — tantamount to voter suppression. Second, they essentially codify minority-rule elections, so that if Union A receives 40 percent of the votes, Union B receives 25 percent of the votes, and the remaining 35 percent of the employees vote “no union,” the run-off will be between Union A and no union, even though 65 percent of the employees resoundingly defeated the “no union” option. The bill also includes a provision allowing for wholesale decertification of a whole host of unions.
An aviation safety and security bill is no place to impose unrelated and controversial labor provisions that will ultimately serve to harm both airline and railroad workers. The proposed Railway Labor Act changes would drastically rewrite a statute that was crafted by labor-management cooperation and has not been changed for over 75 years without the agreement of both employer and employee representatives. Such a rewrite of long standing labor law deserves proper and due consideration through the normal deliberative process.
We strongly urge your opposition to the bill as long as these anti-worker, anti-union provisions remain.
Director, Center for Advocacy
Director of Government Relations