Washington, DC (November 3, 2009) – America’s preeminent workers’ rights advocacy organization raised the alarm about an under-the-radar attempt by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and 30 other unions to make a dramatic change to labor regulations, enabling union organizers to corral tens of thousands of non-union railway and airline industry workers into union membership.
Yesterday, the National Mediation Board (NMB), a government agency charged under the Railway Labor Act with mediating labor disputes within the railroad and airline industries, voted 2-1 to preliminarily support the controversial changes. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation sent a letter objecting to the AFL-CIO union’s proposals and the NMB is requesting comments on the proposed changes. The Foundation will file formal comments in the coming days.
The AFL-CIO union bosses’ proposal urges the NMB to discard its policy of requiring a true majority of all workers within a collective bargaining unit to decide for themselves if they wish to be represented by a union – a 75-year-old precedent – and instead implement new procedures that require only a majority of workers actually voting in a union organizing election to make that decision for the whole group.
The National Right to Work Foundation opposes the AFL-CIO’s proposal because it makes it exceedingly difficult for independent-minded workers to resist Big Labor’s well-funded, professional organizing machine, particularly since these campaigns must be run across an entire, often-nationwide bargaining unit. The proposed change also imposes a greater burden on employees who wish to refrain from union membership by forcing them to either take affirmative action to oppose the union or otherwise potentially allow far less than a majority make that decision for them.
“Apparently unable to convince a true majority of affected workers to vote for unionization under the current process, AFL-CIO operatives are attempting to change the rules to give themselves the upper hand over the workers,” said Stefan Gleason, vice president of National Right to Work. “Individual workers should never be forced into union ranks against their will, and it’s unconscionable that union bosses want to be able to impose unionization without an actual majority of employees ever showing support for a union.”
The National Right to Work Foundation’s letter also calls on the NMB to establish a formal process for workers wanting to remove a union as their monopoly bargaining agent as required under Foundation-won precedent in U.S. federal court.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.