Wed, Dec 09, 2009
Signers Support Rule Change Regarding How Votes Are Counted In
Union Organizing Elections
A total of 178 Members of Congress
signed a letter to the National Mediation Board Monday in support
of a rule change regarding the way votes are counted in union
organizing elections for aviation and railroad workers.
Currently, a vote to organize for collective bargaining purposes
under the Railway Labor Act requires approval of a majority of the
workers to be included in the proposed bargaining unit.
Non-voters are counted as “no” votes. The letter argues
that the rule should be changed to require a majority only of the
“If a worker does not vote, he or she is counted as voting
against unionization. In any election, there are a variety of
reasons why eligible voters may not vote. Yet, current NMB
procedures treat a non-vote as a vote for a specific position:
‘no union.’ We believe such an election system is
inappropriate for any industry. The process is all the more flawed
in a setting where voter rolls include significant numbers of
furloughed employees who are not in regular communication with
other voters,” the letter reads, in part.
"The Members contend that such procedures provide employers with
an inappropriate incentive to suppress voter turnout, and provide
an inaccurate measure of employee sentiment. We see no convincing
policy reason or legal precedent to require, in an election
process, an absolute majority of all eligible employees to cast a
‘yes’ vote for representation; and see no reason to
continue to subject aviation and rail workers to this exceptional
standard,” the letter states.
The letter was authored by Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure Chairman James L. Oberstar (pictured,
above) (D-MN) and Committee on Education and Labor Chairman
George Miller (D-CA).
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