Facing Obama veto, Isakson loses fight to tighten union votes at Delta

A measure backed by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, to tighten union votes at air carriers such as Delta, failed 43-56 vote on Thursday.

Three Democrats joined with all GOP senators, his office reports.

According to Bloomberg, the vote was preceded by a statement from the White House Office of Management and Budget, saying it would recommend that President Barack Obama veto the measure if it passed:

“Outcomes should be determined by a majority of the valid ballots cast,” the administration statement said.

From a press release issued by Isakson:

“The recognition of a union under the Railway Labor Act is essentially permanent and irrevocable, and now a minority can organize the entire bargaining unit,” Isakson said. “This administration simply refuses to obey the will of the majority and has chosen to overturn 75 years of precedent to grant favors to labor unions. In fact, in large measure, it seems to me this rule is a ‘card check light.’”

The Isakson measure was intended to reverse a National Mediation Board ruling to allow union elections to be decided by a majority of votes cast, rather than a majority of the membership. Such rulings can be reversed – if approved by Congress and signed by the president.

Said Isakson:

“There is no sound legal or policy basis for hastily changing a rule that has been in place and upheld repeatedly for over 75 years. The Obama administration’s two Democrat nominees to the National Mediation Board, in repealing a 75-year old rule without Congressional approval or adequate reasoning, have recklessly tossed aside fairness and impartiality to benefit their former bosses in the labor movement.”

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50 comments Add your comment

NotSchooledInGa

September 23rd, 2010
12:48 pm

Next we should make elections count only if a majority of the population, not just a majority of the voters, select someone. Lets see how that plan goes over.

The Centrist

September 23rd, 2010
12:50 pm

Delta has been able to rebuff six organizing campaigns since 2000? As long as the mechanics get their worker protection, benefits and wages are better than Union scale, then it is a win-win for the mechanic employees. They get the benefit of having a Union scale as a benchmark, while not having to pay Union dues. However, ask the Unionized Delta Pilots and the NonUnion Flight Attendance how great Delta has been to them.

YourDaddyWasRight

September 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

———Only about 8% to 11% of the American workforce is organized. However, to hear the rightwing speak about it, you’d think 90% is organized. The fact of the matter is that those of us who work for nonunion employers have health insurance, dental insurance, a 40-hour work week, vacations because unions bargained for those benefits. Nonunion employers grudgingly give those benefits now because if they didn’t, all their employees would be working for union employers.

Gary

September 23rd, 2010
1:12 pm

End unions now. Management runs the company, not labor. You don’t like your benefits, work somewhere else. Does the teachers union make education better? Do the auto unions make our cars better? Have the unions helped the airline industry? We have enough laws protecting employees from shady employeers. Union do nothing but destroy their own industry.

Cameron Roberts

September 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

Gary,

Without Airline Pilots unions then pilots would still be flying with not enough sleep. From a pilots lips to my ears.

findog

September 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Senator Isakson also sponsored the new homebuyer rebate in the stimulus bill, but voted against the final bill. He was for death panels in the health care legislation before he was against them. I am sure there is a third strike out there that would remind the president that Johnny isn’t even a fair weather friend. It might pass but global warming will reverse before this president signs it into law…

Gary

September 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

Isn’t it interesting that the unions in my town hire people at soup kitchens to stand in front of non union buildings and picket and hand out leaflets. Why do they do this? Because they don’t want to pay someone union wages and benefits to do labor. Instead they just hand the $20 bucks and thank them for their help. Hypocrites.

Chuck

September 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

Having been union at one point in my life I cannot see their value now. The one I was in was nothing but a bunch of crooks who wasted the money paid in dues. The union bosses were overpaid and did everythi9ng they could to hurt the company.

Palin 2012

September 23rd, 2010
1:19 pm

Why does this article title says Obama may tighten etc but the body of this letter talks about Senator Isakson. Isn’t it President Obama or for short The Obama Adminstration?

Gary

September 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

At what cost. The airline industry is bankrupt. They are charging us a fortune to fly. The flights are miserable. There is a reason each flight had two pilots, and franlky the plane practically flys itself once it is off the ground. Maybe they would have more pilots if the union didn’t control wages with the threat of strike. Then pilots could rest more. Ask eastern pilots how good the union was for them.

TJX

September 23rd, 2010
1:33 pm

Permanent changes to a class’ status SHOULD be held to a higher standard, and not just the “majority of those voting” as NMB has proposed. There’s no mechanism to decertify a union under the rail labor act that governs airlines, unlike other unions. I commend Senator Isakson for recognizing that this is a complex issue, and taking steps to reign in the out of control pro-union backroom deals that the Obama Administration is making.

Sandra

September 23rd, 2010
1:39 pm

I’m not necessarily in favor of unions but aren’t all employees allowed to vote? If they chose not to vote, why should they complain. Isn’t that what we say about elections in general?

I personnally used to respect Johnny Isakson but not so much anymore since he became a lapdog of extremists.

Brad

September 23rd, 2010
1:49 pm

If the “majority of votes cast” is good enough for political elections, why would it not suffice for a vote to unionize? Politicians certainly make decisions that have “permanent” impacts…ask the family members of servicemen/women killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On another note, it would be interesting to know how much Delta has contributed to Sen. Isakson’s election campaigns.

Denny

September 23rd, 2010
1:57 pm

When Northwest Airlines rid themselves of almost all their mechanics then Delta was able to buy them and not worry about the new Delta having unionized mechanics because they had always paid just a little over union scale and been very selective about who they hired. Union is a bad word at Delta Airlines.

Un-savvy Businessman

September 23rd, 2010
2:05 pm

If it’s good enough to elect a Governor, it’s good enough to have the majority of those voting decide a union election. This is a no-brainer which is probably why 43 Senators didn’t get it. Ironic that of the 43, two were democrats, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

This is the second time in two days the Lincoln and Pryor have voted with the republicans.

bill

September 23rd, 2010
2:09 pm

I remember how well the union handled the ATC and Eastern Airlines deal? Do you?? Reagan fired the ATC and the union for Eastern was mugging for the cameras with a drink screaming “we won” “we won” …. I never did understand how they “won”….

bill

September 23rd, 2010
2:15 pm

have y’all taken notice of the money being spent on electing dimocrats by the unions? not pocket change boys and girls!!….

RUSmarterthana5thgrader

September 23rd, 2010
2:18 pm

Mr Obama once again shows that the rule of law does not apply to his administration.

Retired Soldier

September 23rd, 2010
2:25 pm

Sandra-

You would have to be an extrememist to think Johnny is an extrememist.

Doug Craig

September 23rd, 2010
2:27 pm

Vote http://www.donovanforsenate.com Chuck Donovan Is the best choice for US Senate BTW he is a pilot and served in the US Marines

Retired Soldier

September 23rd, 2010
2:28 pm

Doug-

I was a paratrooper and served in the U.S. Army. Would that make me the best candidate for senator? Get real man.

TJX

September 23rd, 2010
2:29 pm

Brad, Unsavvy, Sandra: the difference between a politcial election and the election under the rail labor actis that political elections are for set terms, after which another election is held to determine wether to rehire the candidate. Union elections are PERMANENT. Under the rail labor act, once a workforce certifies a union, the union is there FOREVER with no chance to remove it. Given the consequences of voting a union onto the property, they should be held to a higher standard, and the 75 year history of requiring a majority of the employees to vote (instead of requring a majority of those voting to certify a union) should be upheld.

So in sum: If you don’t like a political candidate, but didn’t participate in the election in which they won, you have a chance to vote them out again during the next election. You don’t have that chance with a union, which is why for 75 years there was always a higher standard.

Tom

September 23rd, 2010
2:48 pm

The unions have been a major factor in the decline of the airlines. Mohawk Airlines was forced to merge with Allegheny (now US Airways) after a pilot strike in the 70’s. The unions are greedy, self serving, and care only about union dues. Delta is trying to help employees with things like yearly raises and profit sharing. If the union comes in, all of that will be gone. My girlfriend is a Delta flight attendant and she wants nothing to do with the union.

Hank

September 23rd, 2010
2:52 pm

It seems fair that in 2010 that those individuals who do not vote will not automatically count as a no vote. I think Senator Isakson understands this and backed off, while appeasing the Delta hierarchy and Wall Street.

When Hell Freezes Over

September 23rd, 2010
2:56 pm

The ATC’s didn’t believe they could possibly be fired. Eastern employees thought that management was lying to them when the employees were informed of the likely consequences of their actions. In a down economy, any company continually raising the price of their goods or services are apt to find that the demand for those goods/services will decrease. I don’t think airlines can stand much more of a decrease in demand for their services.

Just and observation . . .

Keith

September 23rd, 2010
3:00 pm

If those not voting don’t care one way or the other then the concerned employees should be able to vote in the union. Likewise, they should also be able to vote out the union, but the need for that is as great as the need of a bass for a bicycle. They can vote out the leaders of the union so the anti-union robots commenting don’t seem to have a real problem, only one caused by brainwashing.

TnGelding

September 23rd, 2010
3:16 pm

Why wouldn’t a member vote? Maybe it should be required. Easily accomodated in this day and age. Speaking of the 40 hour week, maybe it’s time to reduce that to 32 or 35 hours considering the tremendous increase in productivity over the last 20 years.

HDB

September 23rd, 2010
3:17 pm

The Centrist

September 23rd, 2010
12:50 pm
“Delta has been able to rebuff six organizing campaigns since 2000? As long as the mechanics get their worker protection, benefits and wages are better than Union scale, then it is a win-win for the mechanic employees. They get the benefit of having a Union scale as a benchmark, while not having to pay Union dues. However, ask the Unionized Delta Pilots and the NonUnion Flight Attendance how great Delta has been to them.”

You SHOULD be asking the GROUND CREW, Gate Agents, and Baggage Handlers how being non-union is at Delta: being FIRED at managerial whim for no reason, no job protection nor recourse for dispute resolution……

Many of my friends at Delta are HOPING for unionization so that they CAN have some sense of job security…….

Brad

September 23rd, 2010
3:26 pm

I understood your point the first time around, TGX, and I stand by my un-savvy post.

Double Zero Eight

September 23rd, 2010
3:42 pm

I once worked for a Fortune 100 company in management. We received extensive training by our HR department in how to dissuade employees from joining a union. These white collar employees put in 50 to 60 hours per week in order to get the job done. They were not eligible for
overtime or comp. time. Unions can be useful in some instances.

Grumpy

September 23rd, 2010
4:09 pm

Johnny is 100% correct on this issue, but I’M STILL VOTING FOR CHUCK!

JD

September 23rd, 2010
4:32 pm

I laugh when so-called Republicans support majority voting. Whose side were you on when King George took the throne, not by popular vote, but by a Supreme court vote.

JD

September 23rd, 2010
4:38 pm

So, when a majority of senators vote to pass a bill — should it pass?

Matt

September 23rd, 2010
4:42 pm

JD, I laugh when people conflate voting rules enshrined in the Constitution (Electoral College) and those promulgated by an inherently political agency such as the NMB.

Retired Soldier

September 23rd, 2010
4:56 pm

JD-

Please take or retake PS101. You need to learn the basics before making a fool of yourself.

Don

September 23rd, 2010
5:15 pm

“Majority of votes cast” is not enough for most organizations. Every group, business, organization, etc… I’ve been a member of, you had to establish a quorum before the votes were cast; to make sure an extreme minority was not taking advantage of a situation.

These folks that are so proud of the fact that unions gave them higher wages are crazy. Take a trip up to Detroit and ask the residents how those “higher wages” are going for them now. The fact is, we compete on a worldwide basis and if we make “stuff” to expensive here, it will just be made in some other country. What causes it – not evil businessmen, it’s the American consumer and their relentless pursuit of low-price “stuff.”

Retired Soldier

September 23rd, 2010
5:26 pm

Well written Don.

When Hell Freezes Over

September 23rd, 2010
6:02 pm

Don:

Nail it down, brother. I think that your post might require some “thinking” by union advocates!

calvinb

September 23rd, 2010
6:41 pm

We need a change in the U.S. Senate seat for Georgia. I hope that you will vote the election of the new Junior Senator from Georgia Michael Thurmond. A man of the people. Let Johnny go and work for the rich outside of the Senate. Vote Thurmond he will work for us all. Not just the Rich and Powerful!!!

Martina

September 23rd, 2010
6:49 pm

“Having been union at one point in my life I cannot see their value now. The one I was in was nothing but a bunch of crooks who wasted the money paid in dues. The union bosses were overpaid and did everythi9ng they could to hurt the company.”

Sounds like the same thing CEO’s do!!!

Martina

September 23rd, 2010
7:04 pm

Gary writes: “At what cost. The airline industry is bankrupt. They are charging us a fortune to fly. The flights are miserable. There is a reason each flight had two pilots, and franlky the plane practically flys itself once it is off the ground. Maybe they would have more pilots if the union didn’t control wages with the threat of strike. Then pilots could rest more. Ask eastern pilots how good the union was for them.”

Gary: Your paying less for airfare now then you did 20 years ago. Frank Lorenzo was the demise of Eastern airline. If it were strickly up to the company to decide on a pilots rest, there wouldn’t be much. Ask a non-union pilot. As of September 13, 2010, the FAA imposed a new law increasing the mandantory rest period. Do you think the airline would have done this out of the goodness of their heart? It’s either contractual or law. Take your pick?

Retired Soldier

September 23rd, 2010
7:06 pm

Cal-

I am neither rich or powerful and Johnny is just fine, but thanks for asking.

Martina

September 23rd, 2010
7:12 pm

Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas? Hummm, Arkansas, Walmart Country. What a surprise these to democrates sided with Johnny. I would guess Walmart is a big contributor to their campaign.

Cutty

September 23rd, 2010
9:47 pm

Democrats are p*ssies!

william

September 23rd, 2010
10:28 pm

HDB: you said: “You SHOULD be asking the GROUND CREW, Gate Agents, and Baggage Handlers how being non-union is at Delta: being FIRED at managerial whim for no reason, no job protection nor recourse for dispute resolution…”

Unless you can provide actual examples of this happening (I’m betting you can’t), you’re just playing into the same, tired pro-union arguments that the union leaders throw up, union leaders who incidentally make more money in salary off the backs of union dues than some CEO’s. I have a personal interest in this (my wife is a flight attendant who is against being forced to join a union), and I watched the debate as it was happening. Isakson read letters from flight attendants and other employees who supported him.

777driver

September 23rd, 2010
10:31 pm

Martina: the ironic thing about your comment is that ALPA (the Air Line Pilots Association for those of you not in the business) actually was initially OPPOSED to the new flight time duty time regs. They didn’t want their work rules impacted, and especially didn’t want to lose the opportunity to commute to their base. Funny that you throw up the “union saved us” canard with that as an example.

Why comment

September 23rd, 2010
10:39 pm

Don wrote: “Majority of votes cast” is not enough for most organizations. Every group, business, organization, etc… I’ve been a member of, you had to establish a quorum before the votes were cast; to make sure an extreme minority was not taking advantage of a situation.

These folks that are so proud of the fact that unions gave them higher wages are crazy. Take a trip up to Detroit and ask the residents how those “higher wages” are going for them now. The fact is, we compete on a worldwide basis and if we make “stuff” to expensive here, it will just be made in some other country. What causes it – not evil businessmen, it’s the American consumer and their relentless pursuit of low-price “stuff.”

Don is either stupid or he posts lies. In order to have a Union a election, and majority of the entire workforce must sign a card asking for an election. That is a quorum. Otherwise there is no election.

What the now Democratic majority NLRB did was make Union elections like every other election. Who ever gets the most votes wins. Under the Republican rules, if you didn’t vote, you were counted as a no. Imagine elections required a majority of all eligible voters to declare a winner. Our government would grind to a halt. But Republicans like Don, when they don’t have the facts on their side, just make them up. It’s like all the talk about Death Panels in Obamacare. There weren’t any, but the GOP insisted there were until they got the uneducated stupid populace of the US all worked up in a tizzy and believing such panels existed.

No quorum is required to declare elections of public figures valid in this country. A quorum would be more than 50% of those eligible to vote. In most off year elections, the turnout of registered voters is less than 50%. And only about 60-70% of those eligible to vote register. So if a candidate gets a landslide of 60% of the vote like Ronald Reagan did in 1984, that means he got about 20% of the eligible voters. 70% of eligible voters are registered x 55% of those registered voted, so that is about 38.5 of those eligible to vote actually voted, and Reagan got about 61% of those. So 38.5% x 61% = and about = 23.5% of those eligible to vote, voted for Reagan. That means 76.5% voted for someone else or didn’t vote at all or didn’t even register to vote.

Road Kill

September 24th, 2010
1:29 am

Why would Governor Barnes thwart an investigation into a pedophile who ran a cult in Putnam County? http://bibbrepublicanparty.com/

James

September 24th, 2010
1:16 pm

In the past, the non-union employees have flourished at Delta due to union contracts elsewhere and Delta knows it. They always paid just a little above everyone else to keep the unions at bay. Do you really think those days will remain if the votes fail ? No, there are only a handful of large airlines left, they’ll be able to do what they want and take away what they want, and the race to the bottom on wages has taken hold in the entire industry, including regional airlines. I hope the unions win.

By the way, Tom (whose girlfriend is a Delta flight attendant) profit sharing only helps an employee if the airline makes a profit. Which, if you look at Delta’s record over the last 10 years, they rarely have done so.

John

September 27th, 2010
9:25 am

So funny companies in the south don’t give a rats ass about there employees thats why there here!!!!!,They take advantage of low pay and trickle down economics.Theres more people living in trailers then anywhere!!! In the construction field undocumented workers getting paid cash,1099.not contributing to the system,we have a huge budget gap layoffs,and they pass a cell phone bill what a joke!!!!! the bills that they pass are a joke in GA,Why is GA always last in everything!!!! the rest of the country had these same bills passed years ago.Georgia law makers are ass backwards all of them!!! At least the construction Unions membership get paid well,and benefits for there families,and contribute to the economy STUPID!!.Learn from the north, were real wages are!!! and good schools!!!!! and people can afford HOUSES!!!! not TRAILERS!!!! LET the Republicans and Some DEMs tell you how bad the Unions are why you struggle working at WALMART!!!!