BLET mobilizes to protect democratic representation elections

Posted by admin on March 6, 2011

CLEVELAND, March 4 — The National Division has activated the BLET’s national mobilization network to fight an effort by the Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives to turn the clock back on how representation elections are conducted under the Railway Labor Act by the National Mediation Board (NMB).

For over 80 years NMB rules governing representation elections in the railroad and aviation industries counted workers who did not vote as having voted against representation. These undemocratic rules meant that widespread apathy and/or carrier intimidation almost always spelled defeat for these organizing efforts. Last year the NMB finally changed its rules to make representation elections the same as all other elections in America — the majority of those who vote make the decision whether there will be union representation.

The House Republican leadership is trying to overturn this change and restore the old, undemocratic procedure as a legal requirement through the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act (H.R. 658). The Democrats are offering an amendment to strip H.R. 658 of the anti-union language, and the BLET is mobilizing in support of that amendment.

The bill is moving to the House floor shortly, and the national mobilization network, in conjunction with the BLET’s State Legislative Board Chairmen, is fighting the proposed change to the NMB procedures contained in H.R. 658, and working for the amendment that would remove the anti-worker language.

All BLET members should call their Member of the House of Representatives today (Members can be identified at plugging in your zip code if you do not already know who your House Member is). Identify yourself as a Teamsters/BLET member who lives in the district and then ask for the staff member who handles National Mediation Board or labor issues. When you get the staff member on the line or reach their voice mail, politely ask that the Member of Congress stand up in support of the democratic rights of railroad and airline workers and vote for the amendment to H.R. 658 that protects the NMB election rules currently in place.

BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce is urging all BLET members to participate in this mobilization. “Hundreds of BLET members and officers have taken to the streets throughout the nation in the past two weeks in support of the rights of public workers, and I joined Teamster General President Hoffa in Columbus on March 1 to fight for Ohio workers,” Pierce said.

“The effort to bring back archaic election rules in H.R. 658 would again sharply tilt the playing field in the carriers’ favor, and is being pushed by politicians beholden to corporations who can make unlimited contributions to these politicians’ election campaigns. It is the federal equivalent of the anti-worker legislation now introduced in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and many other states, and the entire BLET must unite to defeat the corporate agenda,” Pierce added.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Last modified on March 6, 2011

Categories: BLET Washington, DC, National
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