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?