6:18 am November 16, 2009, by Henry Unger
One of the most vexing problems in corporate mergers is melding the work force.
Over time, it has become an especially trying task in the airline industry, with a wide variety of labor skills, thorny seniority issues and different levels of unionization.
Delta’s merger with Northwest is proving to be no exception, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes.
Add a new issue to all the normal problems of combining a largely non-union carrier (Delta) with a heavily unionized one (Northwest ) — a proposed change in the voting rules that could affect the union representation elections of flight attendants and ground workers.
A switch in the election rules to a “yes-no” vote, as proposed, would mean that instead of needing approval from a majority of those eligible to vote in order to unionize, unions would only need a majority of those who actually vote, Yamounchi writes. That is generally is a far smaller number.
Airline workers are governed by different rules than most other workers, who already only need a majority of votes cast to gain union representation.
The proposed change for airline workers comes about because of the political change in the White House. A nomination by President Barack Obama to the National Mediation Board, which governs airline union issues, shifted the political balance there to a more labor-friendly majority.
So should the rules be changed now?
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