Hoffa Calls on Congress to Keep NMB Voting Rule for Rail, Airline Workers

Mar 31, 2011, 15:32 ET from International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Teamsters Support Republican LaTourette's Amendment to Preserve Majority Vote Elections

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today urged the House of Representatives to keep the current simple majority voting process for all workers in the rail and airline industries who want to exercise their right to form unions.  

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"In the United States, we choose our president and our elected representatives through a simple majority of the people that actually vote; it is a basic tenet of our election system," Hoffa said. "It is outrageous that politicians bankrolled by billionaires and CEOs want to strip those basic freedoms from rail and airline workers. They should be working on job creation instead of partisan attacks against their political enemies."

Anti-labor politicians succeeded in inserting a provision in the House's version of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization and Reform Act that bars a simple majority election for rail and airline workers. The move comes on the heels of a coordinated, multibillion-dollar campaign launched across the country by the corporate elite to gut the middle class.

Last May, the National Mediation Board changed the election rule to the current, fair majority vote. The rule change allows workers to form a union if a majority of the employees who vote support it. Under the old rule, workers who did not cast ballots were counted as "no" votes.

"Fair is fair," Hoffa said. "Why should our politicians be allowed to play by different rules? If they were required to be re-elected under the old NMB rules, they would not serve another term."

Hoffa called on House members to support an amendment, expected to be offered this week by Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, that would strike the unfair provision from the FAA Reauthorization Bill. The Teamsters Union sent a letter to every representative on Wednesday from Hoffa and Presidents Fred Simpson and Dennis Pierce of the Teamster's affiliate rail unions, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. The letter can be viewed here.

Hoffa also gave the Obama administration high praise for taking a strong stand for workers. The administration issued a statement Wednesday threatening to veto the FAA Reauthorization Bill if fair majority elections for railroad and airline workers are not safeguarded.

"I applaud the administration's firm commitment to help working Americans improve their lives by joining a union," Hoffa said.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit www.Teamster.org.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters