My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy today writes on the revival of the triangular fight involving Delta Air Lines, unions and the continued funding of the Federal Aviation Administration:
A stopgap funding measure expires in less than two weeks, and both Republicans and Democrats say they want to avoid a repeat of the 13-day shutdown in late July and early August. That stalemate forced 4,000 FAA employees — not including air traffic controllers — and 70,000 contract workers temporarily off the job.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is a major player in the debate:
[T]he chief sticking point — a decision by the National Mediation Board to issue a new rule that makes it easier for employees in the airline and railroad industries to unionize — remains unresolved, and the clock is ticking….
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., sponsored a resolution in the Senate condemning the decision, but it failed in a floor vote. House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., inserted a provision in a long-term FAA funding bill to overturn the NMB ruling, but the Obama administration and the Democrat-run Senate rejected that idea.
David Donnelly, director of non-partisan Campaign Money Watch, notes that Delta, through its political action committee, reported making few 2011 campaign contributions as of June 30 – but what it did spend was apparently well-targeted.
First there was the maximum $5,000 contribution to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, given on April 5. Not much of a surprise there.
The more intriguing contribution was another $5,000 given to U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., on May 15.
Only three months earlier, Miller had provided one of three Republican votes on the House transportation committee that nearly stripped the Mica provision – the one that Delta backed — out of the funding bill. From TPM on March 10:
The margin was so thin because three Republicans — Tim Johnson (R-IL), Candice Miller (R-MI), and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) — voted with the Democrats on that amendment. If they and other Republicans team with Democrats, they’ll have opportunities down the line to strike the anti-union language….
In committee, Miller, a former secretary of state, argued that unionization votes should be tallied democratically.
“It’s not pro-union, it’s not anti-union, it’s about fairness,” she insisted.
But on April 1, during a House floor fight to strip the NMB provision, Miller was the only one of the three Republicans to switch her vote. She joined the effort to keep the anti-union provision in the funding bill.
According to the FEC data bank, Miller also received, in May, a $2,000 campaign contribution from Stephen Gorman, Delta’s executive vice president, and a $1,000 contribution from Andrea Newman, a senior Delta vice president for governmental affairs.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider