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Ah, the sweet smell of compromise. The good news is that the Federal Aviation Administration is likely to get its reauthorization before the Jan. 31 deadline; moreover, instead of another short-term extension it is likely to finally get a real, stable, long-term reauthorization; moreover, Republicans are dropping their demand to count workers who don't vote in union representation elections as having voted no. The bad news? Democrats made one big up-front compromise and the National Journal is using the term "gentleman's agreement," as in:
The remaining disputes between Republicans and Democrats on the measure have been worked out in a gentleman's agreement among the congressional transportation gurus.

In exchange, Democrats have agreed to include a provision that would raise the threshold for rail and aviation workers expressing interest in forming a union from 35 percent to 50 percent.

In one sense, raising the threshold from 35 percent to 50 percent is inconsequential. You don't file for an election in which you'll need 50 percent-plus-one support if you only have 35 percent support. But remember when Republicans were fighting the Employee Free Choice Act and their big talking point was that it removed the sacrosanct "secret ballot"? Yeah, well, what the Employee Free Choice Act said was that once a majority of workers had signed cards saying they wanted a union, they had one. Now, Republicans are demanding that a majority of workers have to go through exactly that process, only after a majority of workers sign cards saying they want a union, they additionally have to go through a so-called "secret ballot" election, with management using the time between the petition for election and the election itself to try to persuade or intimidate them into voting against the union.

Obviously we need to hear more details, but my initial take is that this is something of a win. I would've expected Republicans to hold the FAA hostage to ... elimination of the National Labor Relations Board or something. But boy does this ever show how full of shit Republicans were with all that "secret ballot" nonsense.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 02:29 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As long as Republicans control the House and (10+ / 0-)

    the filibuster in the Senate, a gentleman's agreement compromise is probably the best we are going to get.  Massive public mobilization may move the dial a bit, but progress will be a hard slog.

    “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

    by ahumbleopinion on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 03:39:17 PM PST

  •  What about decertification petitions? (7+ / 0-)

    Fair is fair, right?  If the threshold for seeking a union is going up, souldn't the theshold for getting rid of a union also go up?

    Truthfully, unions almost never file with less than 60-70 percent of authorization cards in the first place because you inevitably lose support when the employer starts intimidating folks.  So this isn't all that consequential.  Still, it never ceases to amuse me that the standard for getting a union is higher than getting rid of one.  Don't even get me started on NLRB cert and decert law (as opposd to the Railway Labor Act, which is what we're talking about here).

  •  Your initial take... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble premature. Let's hear the rest of the terms of the agreement before we come to any conclusions.

  •  The GOP won't keep their end of the bargain. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They never do.

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 10:11:48 AM PST

  •  example from IKEA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filby, weinerschnauzer
    Now, Republicans are demanding that a majority of workers have to go through exactly that process, only after a majority of workers sign cards saying they want a union, they additionally have to go through a so-called "secret ballot" election, with management using the time between the petition for election and the election itself to try to persuade or intimidate them into voting against the union.
    A number of Team Captains and Supervisors engaged in harassing and anti-union behaviors yesterday and today.  While many of these may seem trivia on the surface they capture the tension and disrespectful behavior that union supporters are facing and have faced throughout this struggle. Supervisor George Patmore, on the first shift pack line handed out electrolyte replacement to office workers who had been assigned to help out on the pack line for a portion of the shift.  When regular pack line workers asked for identical treatment they were denied this liquid even though temperatures at the time were in the danger level for the heat index according to government guidelines. Human Resources Representative Stephanie Casin told a number of workers that she can’t believed they lied to her about how they were going to vote.  Aside from the implied threat and the disrespect derived from being called a lair, It acknowledges that Swedwood management had pooled workers as to their union support prior to the vote which is illegal even under United States law. Second shift Team Captains told workers that Swedwood would not bargain with the union and they wouldn’t get anything.  This is a clear violation of the NLRA.  The irony of this being that the same NLRB case that was cited by management in their anti union July 25th letter is the case where the National Labor Relations Board clarified that such statements are illegal Building and Wood Workers' International

    dangerous voter for a "dangerous president",Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 10:13:18 AM PST

  •  Can we count all those people who don't vote (7+ / 0-)

    in the Federal Election as voting "no" against the Republicans?

    "Don't dream it, be it" - Brad, Janet and Frank

    by captainlaser on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 10:15:13 AM PST

  •  Thing is they're perfectly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Content with just chipping away with it over time, setting new benchmarks to work from in the future.  Labor rights, women rights....kind of a trend.

    Hey you, dont tell me theres no hope at all Together we stand, divided we fall.

    by marcvstraianvs on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 10:22:50 AM PST

  •  What? No demand for Keystone XL approval (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filby, dotcommodity

    ..before agreeing to keep America's airports open?

    The Republicans are slipping.

    Effective activism requires Activists -- Effecting radical change demands Radicals

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 10:24:18 AM PST

  •  " Compromise" = Incremental Surrender (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thirty years of "gentlemen's agreements" is how we got here. We're pretty far down the road now.

    If only donkeys could have elephant balls... Occupy!

    by chuckvw on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 10:43:01 AM PST

  •  That 'secret' ballot does serve one purpose (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filby, bear83

    that I can think of:  An employee whose boss is hassling him for signing the call for a union election could say, "Yeah, I signed it because the folks I work with were breathing down my neck, but on the secret ballot I voted against a union."

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 at 10:47:17 AM PST

  •  We got what we had, they made gains! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We got exactly what we had, and they made gains in other areas.  You don't need to be a mathematical genius to figure out where compromises like this will lead us in a few years.

  •  The key here - This is a JOBS bill (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie

    From that National Journal link:

    "We can now move ahead with this infrastructure bill that will help create jobs, modernize the nation’s air traffic control system, and reduce the size of government,” Harclerode said.

    Improving FAA infrastructure creates jobs - this is a win.

  •  Oh, how I hate to see the word "compromise" in (0+ / 0-)

    the titles of diaries. I always think, "what have they [the democrats] done now?" It's kinda like children who you know are playing but it's suddenly eerie silent.

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