Union Busting Goes Federal

The battle over the future of organized labor is not just going on at the state level.  It’s national as well.

The Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill contains language that would make it drastically harder for rail or aviation workers to unionize.  The bill is sponsored by House Transportation Chairman John Mica (R-Fla), who is a favorite of the airline industry.  According to reports, the bill contains a provision that states if an eligible worker fails to vote for union representation he or she will be tallied as an active vote against representation.

The intent of the provision is clear–make it harder for union organizers to round up all voters rather than just a simple majority when voting on employment matters. 

The provision was passed by voice vote during markup while the bill was in committee.  Later, Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill) offered an amendment shortly afterwards that would strip the provision from the final bill, describing it as a clear effort on the part of Republicans to bust unions.

And the timing of the provision is no accident.  Last July the federal National Mediation Board, the body that adjudicates labor-management disputes, ruled that absent votes ought not be counted against unionization.  The ruling was praised by labor officials as a signature victory.  Ever since then anti-union activists have placed it squarely in their sights.

Given the current makeup of the House the measure is expected to pass, which is why union activists have turned to the Senate to try and defeat it.

It is clear that we should expect more measures like this one as Republicans double-down on efforts to undo the decades of rights and advances brought by unions.  From child labor laws, wage and hour laws to workplace safety, American workers are better off as a result of the battles fought on their behalf by unions.

Still think the Republicans have the American public’s best interests at heart?

photo courtesy of cliff1066 via Flickr


Jason R.
Past Member 6 years ago


By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 -- 7:32 pm

An Indiana prosecutor and Republican activist has resigned after emails show he suggested Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker stage a fake attack on himself to discredit unions protesting his budget repair bill.

The Republican governor signed a bill on March 11 that eliminates most union rights for public employees.

In an email from February 19, Indiana deputy prosecutor Carlos F. Lam told Walker the situation presented "a good opportunity for what’s called a ‘false flag’ operation."

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism discovered the email among tens of thousands released to the public last week following a lawsuit by the Isthmus and the Associated Press.

"If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions," Lam said in his email.

"Currently, the media is painting the union protest as a democratic uprising and failing to mention the role of the DNC and umbrella union organizations in the protest," he continued. "Employing a false flag operation would assist in undercutting any support that the media may be creating in favor of the unions."

Lam resigned from his position after the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism published an

Dean P.
Dean P7 years ago

Entitled to opinions..is not a bad thang.

Ronald N.
Ronald N7 years ago

Yes, it is very noticable how the Republicans are trying to destroy collective bargaining as well as the unions. It is very noticable, expecially when Congresswoman Bachmann accused the Obama and the Democrats from hiding the 105 billion. The cutting machine is just another step to destroy any social service. If we allow this to occur we will see Medicare as well as Social Security down the tubes. Really, the protests in Wisconsin are a reaction from radical right wing form of austerity. It can be compared to Weimar, Germany period in which austerity took over the nation, very similar to what is occuring in the United States. It's been about 70 years since those years and those who are still alive were only children when these things happened. It is obvious that history is repeating itself just as the deliberate attempt by the elitist camp to control labor and destroy freedoms of Americans. They have characterized Americans who have put into these public systems with their own sweat, then villainized for using a socialistic system that proves we can't take care of ourselves. Nope! It's the people's money that was put into the system and whatever people invested in was stolen by the very same people who are supporting the Tea Party and the extreme Republican right wing to do the dirty deed while being wholely reimbursed for their actions for blaming the working class. Shame on Wall St., shame on you Tea Party, shame on you Republicans! You are the scum of the Earth!

ruth a.
ruth a7 years ago

and are we surprised¨?

Patricia S.
Pat S7 years ago

As former Congressman Istook stated, this is prefunding over the next 8 years, like predated checks!!! The spending of this $105 billion needs to be blocked over the next 8 years!

Patricia S.
Pat S7 years ago

The spending provisions were in the plain language of the bill; they did not vary dramatically from past congressional practice; and the bill was made public for 72 hours before the vote. On balance, we rated Bachmann’s statement Barely True.

Of course, we all know that none of the members of Congress nor the Senate read any of this 2,700 page proposal.

Patricia S.
Pat S7 years ago

Bachmann's $105 billion charge: Was the funding secret?
By Angie Drobnic Holan, Louis Jacobson
Published on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 at 4:22 p.m.

Share this article:

On the March 6, 2011, edition of "Meet the Press", Rep. Michele Bachmann said the Democratic-backed health care bill spent $105 billion "secretly." We check whether she's right.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., used a March 6, 2011, appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press to attack the health care law for what she said was secret spending.

"It is shocking the revelations of all the money that's been spent," said Bachmann, R-Minn. "There is a Congressional Research Service report that just was issued in February, and we discovered that secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the Obamacare legislation to fund the implementation of Obamacare. This is something that wasn't known."

Readers deluged us with requests to fact-check the statement, so we did.

We added up the spending Bachmann was referring to and got $104 billion -- very close to her number. Where our analysis diverges is her claim that the spending was "secret."

We concluded that Bachmann has a point if you look at at the amount of media coverage the appropriations and transfers inspired. There was hardly any. However, she went further than that, charging that the provisions were passed "secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress." And that was not accurate.

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer7 years ago

Patricia S.
A real knuckle dragger eh Patricia? Would have to be to marry the likes of you! Millions to planned parenthood and you are wondering if it was spent on abortions? Why not wonder about the billions sent to Iraq that disappeared or how about how many pregnant women and their fetuses were killed by American weaponry, oh that is right those fetuses don't count because they may have been Muslim. Why not have the Wall St bookkeepers policing their own books so we don't have another economic collapse like 2008 that put millions of men, women and children out on the streets and in danger or does your "compassion" only extend to those still in the womb. The Health Care Reform Bill was drawn up in committees made up of both Democrats and Republicans. Republicans knew what was in the bill because they had pushed to have half of the garbage put in with the enticement of bipartisanship including the mandatory coverage. Take your "before we knew what was in it!!!" BS and shove it into whatever orifice you want to. At least the process in the committees was on a bipartisan basis in drawing up the bill.

Sharon H.
Sharon H7 years ago

And one more thing, the reason you can't find anything on any other news channel other than fox is because they try to base their news on actual facts and not made up lies.

Sharon H.
Sharon H7 years ago

Also, what do you and all of your cronies have to say about the $105 BILLION dollars
You are parroting that airhead, Michelle Bachmann again. I watched her on Meet the Press and it was embarrassing. It's like she was in a trance or something and she kept repeating that statement OVER AND OVER. Maybe she was hypnotized. That amount of money was never hidden and was already approved. And if you want anyone to take you seriously, stop using fox quoted crap as your references.