Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Compelling "Union Yes"

Last year, labor unions seemingly lost every battle. This year -- with re-election looming -- the Obama Administration is trying to even the score.

First, the National Labor Relations Board sued to force Boeing to keep its assembly lines in union-friendly states. Then, the White House reversed course and conditioned three finalized Free Trade Agreements (with Korea, Columbia and Panama) on a massive worker pay-off program. Now, the National Mediation Board (NMB) announced an investigation into whether Delta Airlines interfered with a union rejection vote last fall.

The controversy began when Delta acquired Northwest Airlines in 2008. Delta -- based in Georgia, a right-to-work state -- largely was non-unionized; Northwest had unions. The merger thus triggered an election among various unions; flight attendants voted on November 3, 2010 to reject union representation. Charges of company election interference by various other unions were dismissed (see page 43 n.2), but the Association of Flight Attendants both sued and complained to the NMB.

On June 1st, the NMB General Counsel agreed to review the fairness of the election. The union claims misconduct because Delta "[sent] daily emails. . . slick brochures to homes [and] encourag[ed] Flight Attendants to vote on company computers, where they could be monitored." Meaning it's OK for the union to campaign for a "yes," but management should be handcuffed. This from a movement that wants to abolish the secret ballot for unionization votes.

On a completely unrelated note, two of the NMB's three members are former union bosses.

As Pajamas Media's Bryan Preston observes, consumers are the big losers:
[I]t is a big victory for Big Labor and for no one else. This investigation will end up gobbling up millions, and a lot of time, for Delta. The airline industry is already ailing badly. Is now really a good time to have a federal bureaucracy rooting around and causing trouble?
Especially when a union won't take "no" for an answer--and an Administration which wants their votes might force a "do over."

(via The Corner)

No comments: