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Rail News: Labor

18 transportation unions band together to oppose FAA reauthorization bill provisions


Eighteen transportation labor unions recently joined forces to urge Congress to “defend railroad workers from legislative provisions that would significantly weaken their legal rights,” union officials said in a joint statement. The coalition includes 10 rail labor unions.

A proposed bill in Congress that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also would weaken the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which governs labor-management relations in the rail and aviation industries, union officials said. The proposed RLA changes would end the National Mediation Board's (NMB) discretion in deciding when a representation election will be held, and would increase the "showing of interest" necessary to compel an election for an unrepresented bargaining unit by more than 40 percent, they said.

“In fact, the proposal would result in a higher threshold to hold a representation election than for a union to prevail in the election,” union officials said. “The change also would promote legal challenges by railroads and make it extremely difficult for unions to continue to exist on smaller carriers that are merged with a larger, non-union carrier.”

The bill also would change runoff election requirements and subject the NMB to more oversight.

“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,” union officials said.

The 18 unions include the United Auto Workers; Communications Workers of America; Association of Flight Attendants-CWA; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; American Federation of Government Employees; International Association of Machinists; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen; Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; Service Employees Local 32BJ-National Conference of Firemen and Oilers; Sheet Metal Workers International Association; United Steelworkers; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; American Train Dispatchers Association; Transportation Communications Union-IAM; Amalgamated Transit Union; United Transportation Union; and Unite Here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/31/2012