Tell Congress: ‘Preserve democratic elections’

March 29, 2011

WASHINGTON — As the House of Representatives later this week decides whether to second-guess the expert National Mediation Board, lawmakers must ponder voting for a double standard.

At issue is an NMB decision last year to make union representation elections more democratic.

The NMB reversed a decades-long practice of adding to the “no” column in airline and railroad representation elections all eligible voters who failed to cast a ballot.

Instead, the NMB ordered that airline and railroad representation elections henceforth would be decided by counting only the votes of those actually voting — a simple majority as is the case in all American democratic elections, from the local PTA to Congress to the White House.

A federal district court turned back a challenge by airlines to that new NMB policy, deferring to the expertise of the NMB and its decision to treat representation elections for airlines and railroads in the same manner that democratic elections for Congress and other elective offices are determined.

Yet some in Congress want to legislate a turn-back — a turn-back that, if applied to congressional elections, would have resulted in the defeat of every member of Congress who won an election in 2010.

As a study by the Communications Workers of America revealed, not a single congressional lawmaker would have won an election in 2010 had those not voting been considered to have voted against the candidate.

Clearly, the efforts of those lawmakers wanting to second-guess the NMB and trash democratic principles in representation elections is nothing more than a union-busting measure.

Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) unmasked the union-busting agenda in a statement to her fellow House members:

“Before I came to Congress, I spent eight years as Michigan’s secretary of state. In that job, one of my prime responsibilities was to serve as my state’s chief elections officer. I’d like to think I know a little something about conducting free, open and fair elections,” Miller said.

“Each of us who has the honor to serve in this House does so with the consent of those we serve in free elections. All we have to do is win this privilege is receive more votes than our opponent. That is the fundamental caveat of our democracy, and how we conduct elections. Why should a union election be any different?” she asked her fellow House members.

To help block this latest union-busting initiative, call or email your House member and politely urge them to oppose the provision in a Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill that would legislate an undemocratic process for union representation elections in the airline and railroad industries.

Go to and click on “Washington” in the red tile box on the top. Then scroll down and click on “Contacting the Congress.” Insert your home address, click “Submit It” and then click on the name of your representative for their phone number and email address.