Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Transit Advocacy

White House Proposes Lowering Barriers to Rail, Airline Unionizing

12:03 PM PDT on May 10, 2010

Rail and airline employees would face lowered barriers to unionizing
under a new rule announced today by the Obama administration that would
put union elections for workers in both modes of transportation on an
equal footing with other industries.

rail_network_train_workers_us_auto_industry_jobs_image.jpgRail workers would have an easier path to unionizing under the new rule. (Photo: TreeHugger)

rule, approved on a 2-1 vote by the National Mediation Board (NMB),
would end a decades-old practice of counting employees who abstain or
do not vote in union elections as "no" votes, thus making the process
of organizing workers more difficult.

The Senate labor committee's chairman, Tom Harkin (D-IA), hailed the unionizing shift in a statement. “NMB’s long
overdue rule change ensures that all American workers will have a voice
in the workplace and a right to fair wages and work
conditions," said Harkin, who had joined more than three dozen fellow senators in endorsing the new rule in December.

practice, the NMB's move is more likely to affect airlines than
railroads, where the majority of workers are already represented by
labor unions. Indeed, the Air Transport Association -- which represents
the interests of leading domestic airlines -- is already moving ahead
with a legal challenge to the new rule, the Associated Press reported today.

surface transportation labor interests joined Harkin in welcoming the
NMB announcement, published in today's Federal Register. James Little,
president of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), said in a statement
that "today's decision was long overdue" and would spur his group to
new organizing drives.

"TWU lost elections in the past
because many supposed voters were on leave or in the hospital or
unreachable – every non-vote was counted against our union," Little said.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Measure HLA Fact Check: Sidewalk Costs

The city says $200 million worth of annual ADA work is "included in the cost" of Measure HLA, but the city is already on the hook for that ADA work anyway, so none of it should be included as HLA costs

March 1, 2024

Supervisor Hahn Calls for No Residential Demolitions in Metro’s 710 Freeway Corridor Project

"[For 710 Freeway expansion] Metro needs to commit itself to zero residential property takes. [Metro] should have as one its top priorities ensuring that our projects do not result in kicking people out of their homes."

February 29, 2024

Where Does Alhambra Stand in the BRT Plan for the 60 Freeway Corridor?

The city is not quite in the 60 Freeway corridor; but there is a strong case and appetite for Bus Rapid Transit there

February 28, 2024
See all posts