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Isakson Files "Disapproval Resolution' to Stop Rule Designed to Ease Path to Unionization

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Location: Washington, DC

Isakson Files "Disapproval Resolution' to Stop Rule Designed to Ease Path to Unionization

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today introduced a "disapproval resolution" seeking to stop the National Mediation Board from overturning 75 years of precedent to make it easier for airline and railway employees to unionize.

"The National Mediation Board simply does not have the legal authority to make such a radical change without Congressional authorization. With this rule change, a union could be permanently recognized without a majority of employees having ever supported representation," Isakson said. "I will not stand by and let this administration compromise fairness to grant favors to labor unions. I will do everything in my power to stop this backdoor attempt to shift the balance between labor and management."

Upon introduction, a disapproval resolution is referred to the committee of jurisdiction, which in this case will be the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. If the committee does not favorably report the resolution, it may be discharged upon petition by 30 Senators. Once a disapproval resolution is placed on the Senate calendar, it is then subject to expedited consideration on the Senate floor, and not subject to filibuster. If passed by the Senate, the resolution still must clear the U.S. House and be signed by the President before it could go into effect.

Isakson immediately picked up 25 co-sponsors for the disapproval resolution.

The National Mediation Board's final rule change, which was issued on May 10, would affect companies under the jurisdiction of the Railway Labor Act by allowing union elections to be decided by only a majority of workers who cast ballots, reducing the number of votes it takes for a union to win. Since the creation of the National Mediation Board in 1934, the rule had been that employees who did not vote on whether to create a union had been counted as "no" votes. Under this previous "majority rule" procedure, a union could only be approved if a full majority of all employees voted to do so.

Isakson believes the National Mediation Board does not have the authority to change this election procedure without Congressional authorization. The Supreme Court has upheld the "majority rule" twice, and the National Mediation Board previously rejected requests to change it four times under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

The AFL-CIO requested the rule change in a Sept. 2, 2009, letter to the National Mediation Board. Isakson, along with seven of his Senate colleagues, filed official comments on the rule change with the National Mediation Board on Jan. 4, 2010, urging the board to reject the changes proposed by the AFL-CIO and claiming that the "integrity of the Board's rulemaking process has been compromised."


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