Why does a routine FAA spending bill include harsh anti-union language, making it harder for transportation workers to organize?

The Republican strategy on Capitol Hill of legislating through hostage taking worked yesterday – and now unions are screwed. House Republicans demanded that a routine FAA spending bill include harsh anti-union language that makes it harder for transportation workers to organize. The change raises the threshold for seeking a union from 35% to 50% for transportation workers – and Republican basically said if Democrats don’t agree to it then they’ll shut down the FAA again – just like they did last year.

Yesterday – despite 19 labor organizations writing a letter to Democrats calling on them to oppose the bill – Democrats caved. A majority of Senate Democrats helped pass the bill and new anti-union law for transportation workers by a 75-20 vote. As a letter from the Communication Workers of America read, “Rewarding the House Republican Leadership's desire to rewrite decades of long standing labor law in a flash by inserting an unrelated and controversial labor provision…sets an extremely dangerous precedent."

Indeed it does – unfortunately – it’s been all too common in this 112th Congress – paid for by over $300 million dollars in corporate spending.


RLM8's picture
RLM8 11 years 6 weeks ago

Because corporate America has not grown past the Ivan Boesky model. That only builds bubbles to deflate them. A destructive form of business practiced by Matt Romney. You see when the top 1% want to control the world, it is not possible to accept a business model that promotes massive wealth. It is simple in the last 12 years trillions of dollars have been transferred through fraud and hostile takeover. All of the employees of this country in the 60s 70s 80s 90s that invested in pension plans have been targeted by artful takeover artists. Who use those funds to change laws to allow them to dig deeper into the inherent equity of the American taxpayer. I assume the reason the Democrats went along with this bill, there has to be something they wanted. Because once the Democrats fall away from supporting unions and workers with insurance and retirement savings plans our economy is doomed.

mwalkerco's picture
mwalkerco 11 years 6 weeks ago

If the GOP thinks that union-bashing is going to GET them votes, they must be smoking some of the drugs they are so vehemently against! Will moves like this not drive out MORE union- and former union workers to vote AGIANST them?!

I am no GOP strategist, but I see they are doing all the WRONG things!

mwalkerco's picture
mwalkerco 11 years 6 weeks ago
jstein7444's picture
jstein7444 11 years 6 weeks ago

You are exactly right - I was TWA and then was AA, when TWA was bought by AA - I would like to know what the incentive was!

jstein7444's picture
jstein7444 11 years 6 weeks ago

Thanks so much - I have been trying to find out how McCaskill (D) from Missouri voted -

jstein7444's picture
jstein7444 11 years 6 weeks ago

McCaskill voted No - a Dem

Blunt (R) - voted yes -

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 11 years 6 weeks ago

Whether or not we win back the same democratic rights secured by the more advanced nations depends on us. The powerful aren't interested in our opinions. Period. If we want to reclaim our rights, we'll have to give the powerful a very compelling reason to ensure those rights. We'' hhave to fight for them, and when peaceful protest is ignored, we'll have to turn up the volume -- just as our parents and grandparents had to do. Legislators aren't going to protect the rights of citizens unless they get the message that it's in their own best interests to reverse course and get back to the job of getting powerful corporate interests back on a leash, and protecting the rights of the people. Those who came before us fought and died for the right to form legitimate unions. I don't think corporations, our political leadership, or even many of our people are quite getting the concept here -- We don't need ANYONE'S permission to organize. This is a choice that belongs to the people alone. Just do it, and then fight for it if necessary. If they don't listen, make them listen. If peaceful protest is ignored, take the next step. This generation absolutely must grasp that basic point -- we don't need anyone's permission.

renegrippo's picture
renegrippo 11 years 6 weeks ago

Both of my D-Senators voted yea. I'm in CO and very disappointed in them. After the 2010 elections I said it was good that the GOP took the house. My thinking was that Pelosi was being wasted by the obstruction-minded minority in the senate. Let the people be reminded of what the republicans stand for by seeing the garbage that would be coming out of the house now. I was heartened by the fact that the dems still controlled the Senate and they would stop any radical bills so the president would likely not have to veto anything. Now I hope he sends them a message by vetoing this bill regardless of whether or not he thinks they'll override it.

My message to Bennet and Udall of CO: I won't vote for a dem who acts like a repub. I've had it with the caving in to hostage takers.

On the other hand. What good is a union of less than 50%?

drn42 11 years 6 weeks ago

the thing is the lobbyists. your senators and congress people don't care if you vote for them or not. because being in government is just seen now as an entry level lobbyist position. they can't wait to get voted out so they can go make "real money " as a LOBBYIST.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 6 weeks ago

"Republican leadership's desire to rewrite decades of long standing labor law."

In other words, the republicans desire to honor their corporate sponsors by dishonoring the long struggle workers have waged to achieve fairness and respect in the work place.

Isn't the theft of most of our wealth enough?....do they really need to strip us of all dignity and rights in the work place as well?

Has republican disdain for the 99%........ no end?

Mickey Kossack's picture
Mickey Kossack 11 years 6 weeks ago

My home state is Michigan, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) voted nay...Sen, Carl Levin (D) voted yea. I have noticed a change in his actions, he was respected as an advocate for the people; but, now with his agreement to the President's signing of the NDAA, his purpose is questionable.

Most of my sixty-five years were spent in the Grand Rapids, Holland, Grand Haven areas which are conservative, Christian Reformed, and completely against change; except when it entails moving jobs to Mexico and China. My parents located to the area because Grand Rapids was known as "The Furniture Capital" and between the two of them, they worked in all of the major factories. They retired when most of the factories closed and moved manufacturing to the Carolinas.

I no longer reside in the area having moved north to Traverse City; until the move, I did not realise the influence that was ingrained in the culture against unions and progressives. Of course, West Michigan is the headquarters for Amway, Steelcase, and the Prince family business. Eric Prince, who now resides in the United Arab Emerites was the founder of Blackwater which he no longer owns; but, he is beginning a new private military force.

The conservatives have managed to make the unions appear to be peopled with greedy and dis-satisfied members who, because of their demands, forced the corporations to outsource manufacturing. Thousands of unemployed workers in the state are at risk of losing unemployment extentions; but the public has been brainwashed to believe that it is their own fault. Very little is taught in schools about the robber barons and the condition for workers that were the cause of the beginning of unions nor the violence that workers endured. There is an excellent book that explains the circumstances of the copper miners of the UP and the violence that caused the largest mass murder in our state. It is called, Death's Door by Steve Lehto, 2006 and it describes the actions of the owners, the local police force and the men hired to create violence on the population in 1913 and the resulting death of seventy-three people, most children attending a Christmas Party. We are witnessing the same tactics, only with much more influence of the money men. Woody Guthrie wrote a song in memory, the last line reads, "See what your greed for money has done?"

ddifrancesco's picture
ddifrancesco 11 years 6 weeks ago

Very typical here in Arizona, our Senators Kyl and McCain, both Republicans voted Yea to the measure. Sadly Arizona is becoming hostile to the labor unions in general with our governor Jan Brewer introducing legislation to make it illegal for the state government to deal with the public employee unions. This includes the public safety unions as well that represent our fireman and police. These so called representatives of the "people" are clearly nothing but thugs with no respect for the working men and women that they claim to want to help. Slipping this provision into the FAA funding bill was merely an underhanded strong-arm way of gettting what the Republican's wanted...more money for corporate America at the expense of the middle-class. Shame on them!

dm4goooh 11 years 6 weeks ago

Then I say it is time the democrats grew a set and tell the republicans then you can just shut it down but we will make sure EVERY ONE knows it is because you (the republicans) are no longer willing to compromise. So if they want to take their ball and go home then be my guest. I think the democrats need to call their bluff and just go to shut down.

Duncan MacLaren's picture
Duncan MacLaren 11 years 6 weeks ago

In my [working] lifetime, I've negotiated with outstanding unions and lousy unions. But will raising the threshold of "yes" votes--from 35% to 50%--necessary to hold a certifying election deal a crippling blow to transportaion unions ? I don't think so. It might require the union organizers to craft a more-comprehensive (or more-credible) reason for organizing. But in my experience, when workers are confronted with lousy (read "Neanderthal") management, or lousy company policies, they'll successfully unionize no matter how high the threshold.

renegrippo's picture
renegrippo 11 years 6 weeks ago

Regarding the comment on senators not caring if they are reelected because they are only in it for the $million lobbying job they will get after they leave office; this is a very sad situation. Lobbying congress is a constitutional right and should never be restricted, but a law should be passed to make it illegal to pay someone to lobby congress and illegal to accept pay for lobbying services.

One's incentive to lobby should come from a desire to effect change, not a desire to line their pocket.

Simple as that.

mater123's picture
mater123 11 years 6 weeks ago

Republicans are alaways trying kill unions and goverment programs, and they do it by death by a thousand cuts. The response you gave is exactly what the GOP wants(IT DOESN'T SEEM SO BAD) and next year it might go from 50% to 65%. the GOP has a all out attack on public unions and private unions are next. The GOP has the postal service at the brink and medicare is on the horizon

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