Skip to main content

airplane
The Federal Aviation Administration could shut down on Friday because House Republicans are tying its funding to an anti-democratic (note the small "d") provision to hinder union organizing. The anti-union provision is not included in the Senate bill, and President Obama has said he might veto it. If they don't reach an agreement, the FAA's operating authority expires on Friday and it shuts down.

The question is, which votes should be counted in a union representation election? The House wants to revert to an old rule in which all workers eligible to vote are counted as having done so. If they didn't actually cast a vote, they are recorded as a "no" vote. That means that joining a union does not just require getting a majority of the votes cast, but a majority of all workers. It's as if defeating George W. Bush would have required a majority of all voting-age Americans, regardless of voter turnout; as Joan McCarter has written, this provision codifies vote fraud.

That's what the House wants to shut down the FAA over. Since they're taking the position that air traffic controllers would be kept on as essential employees, they probably figure that public anger would be minimal even as they cause some pain, including furloughs for other workers and loss of revenue as airlines stop collecting ticket taxes. But House Republicans aren't just going out of their way to be dicks to workers: they've proposed a short-term extension that eliminates federal subsidies to 13 rural airports, including ones in the home states of the 3 Democratic senators with the most authority over the bill. And they're not pretending that's a coincidence; the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee referred to it as "just a tool to try to motivate some action to get this resolved"—the "this" being passage of the anti-union provision.

According to a letter from Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) to John Boehner, the series of short-term extensions has already had costs such as slowing airport construction projects. But, you know, anything to make it harder for workers to join unions.

Update: From the White House:

The Administration strongly supports passage of a clean extension of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs, as the Congress has done 20 times without controversy, in order to allow bipartisan, bicameral negotiations to continue on a full reauthorization.

H.R. 2553 includes controversial provisions that, because they have not been negotiated, needlessly threaten critical FAA programs and jeopardize thousands of public and private sector jobs. Without timely passage of a clean extension, all of FAA’s capital accounts (Grants-in-Aid for Airports, Facilities and Equipment, and Research, Engineering, and Development) would be shut down, and approximately 4,000 employees would be furloughed. FAA’s ability to award new grants, including for infrastructure upgrades at airports across the country, as well as to move forward with vital testing and implementation of the Next Generation air traffic control system, would come to a stop.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 08:16 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kossack Air Force, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, In Support of Labor and Unions, Daily Kos Labor, and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site