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CWA demonstration
San Francisco Day of Action by CWA Union, April 4, 2011

Before voting to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid, House Republicans voted to codify vote fraud when they passed a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that includes a provision overturning a National Mediation Board ruling governing union elections in the airline and railroad industries. Under the rule, only votes cast in a union election will be counted, just like regular democracy. Under the old rules, which the Republican House is attempting to reinstate, any eligible voter who didn't cast a vote would be counted anyway as having voted "no." That blatantly undemocratic rule was opposed by a handful of House Republicans, and the White House has issued a veto threat should the bill pass.

All attention now turns to the conference committee, where the final bill will be hashed out, and the Senators assigned to the committee. The Senate does not have a corresponding union-busting provision in their version of the bill. The Communications Workers of America, the primary union which has been lobbying on this bill, is pressing the Senator negotiators, particularly the Democrats, to get the unfair elections provision stripped.

The CWA is also reiterating a key argument it made in previous lobbying efforts: not a single member of the Senate would have been elected if non-voters had been tallied as supporters of their opponents.

"Zero current Senators would have won their last election under this election standard," reads a CWA report being distributed to members of the Senate. "As with House Members, not a single Senator would have been elected in their last election using the proposed NMB election standard. Under these egregious election standards, votes for their actual opponent(s) in their previous election are tallied together with non-voting eligible voters, as non-voters are counted as "no" voters for the incumbent."

The Senate negotiators are Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Max Baucus (D-MT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and John Ensign (R-NV).

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