US Court Rejected Air Transport Ass Appeal On Union Elections


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US Court Rejected Air Transport Ass Appeal On Union Elections

Mike Mitchell

June 30, 2010 - On Friday the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, rejected the Air Transport Association's (ATA) attempt to overturn new National Mediation Board (NMB) rules governing union elections.  

Air Transport Association is America?s oldest and largest airline trade association representing over 16 member airlines. In 1936 several airlines founded the association. ATA is based in Washington, D.C. 

"The court has made a just ruling that brings America's working families one step closer to fairer union elections," said TWU International President James C. Little. 

On May 10, the NMB announced changes in union voting requirements under the Railway Labor Act that would bring greater democracy to workers in the air and rail industries.

Just one week later, the ATA, composed of major U.S. air carriers, filed a legal challenge to the change, causing a delay in the effective date of the new rule.

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. testified at the National Mediation Board?s (NMB) public hearing on the agency?s proposed change to rules governing union representation elections. ?Every employee should be allowed to choose for themselves whether to vote yes, no or to abstain in union elections,? said Roach. ?The government should not employ a process that assigns a viewpoint to voters who do not cast a ballot.? (12/7/209) (see complete testimony)  


"The deck has been stacked against workers for too long with many union elections being invalidated by unfair rules that required super majority participation ? a standard found nowhere else in our democracy," said Edward Wytkind, President of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department. "The new rules put an end to the practice of counting all non-voting employees as ?no? votes." 

The Transport Workers Union, which represents tens of thousands of people who work in the railroad and airline industries, applauds the NMB's decision to reject the ATA's proposal to overturn the new rules. The TWU have lost elections in the past due to the rigged elections in which non-voters counted as "no" votes.  


"We are currently working to help employees of Jet Blue and Virgin America airlines organize to win the same rights that our members at Southwest, American and other air carriers experience today," said TWU Organizing Director Frank McCann.  

"We look forward to holding union elections at these airlines, where employees do not currently benefit from collective bargaining, under the new rules that will finally and rightfully look like every other election in our society where a simple majority prevails."  

"This change decision was long overdue. But rather than mourn the injustices of the past, we're going celebrate justice for workers today and we're going to organize," said President Little.


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