Chalk this up as a win for pilots, flight attendants, and the rest of the airport gang: a ruling Monday by the National Mediation Board (NMB) will provide air and rail workers the right to fair, democratic – and, well, logical – union elections.
Until yesterday, the way union elections were held for these workers didn’t even make sense. Under Rail Labor Act (RLA), every worker who did not cast a vote was counted as a “No.”
Have no opinion? You were counted as a “No.” Lost your ballot in the mail? “No.” Wanted a union but didn’t turn in your ballot in time? That’s a vote for “No.” This bizarre system produced a “unique culture of voter suppression,” according to AFA-CWA President Patricia Friend. In one union election, management even ran a campaign instructing employees to rip up government-issued balloting instructions. Needless to say, election results rarely resembled actual will of the workers.
But thanks to the NMB ruling, airline workers get to vote on a simple Yes-No ballot, and the majority wins – just like every other logical election in the country. “Our elected officials, from the President of the United States to the mayors and other representatives of our communities attain office by winning majority support,” said Friend, whose union represents flight attendants, “That’s the way U.S. elections are conducted.”
We couldn’t agree more. Thanks, National Mediation Board, for letting logic rule the day.