Big Labor is covering its bets against the likelihood that President Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress won't be able to deliver Card Check to kill the secret ballot in workplace representation elections. The sidebet is at the three-member National Mediation Board.
Never heard of it? Well, the NMB was established by FDR during the New Deal to mediate labor-management disputes in the railroad industry, then had its regulatory purview expanded to include the airline industry. The NMB has the power to impose compulsory arbitration when labor and management are unable to reach a settlement within 30 days.
Two of the three members now on the NMB are former union officials, Harry Hoglander and Linda Puchala, who came to the board from, respectively, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) unions. President Obama appointed Puchala.
Now, the the Obama administration is pushing new arbitration rules that would allow a union to gain representation certification in any company so long as it wins any representation election. The National Right to Work Foundation describes it in these terms:
"The new procedure would stack the deck in favor of unionization by granting a union monopoly bargaining power over workers if the union 'wins' an election, no matter how few eligible workers actually participate in the vote. In fact, this means that a small bloc of workers could force union boss 'representation' on the whole group as opposed to a true majority of all workers deciding for themselves."
The foundation has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all NMB documents, including correspondence, transcripts or notes of meetings, reports or handouts, proposals, speeches, phone logs, or other writings or recordings, between Hoglander or Puchala and any union official or lobbyist concerning the proposed rule change.
“President Obama repeatedly promised a new era of openness, transparency, and ethics but has repeatedly violated that pledge when it comes to paying off Organized Labor bosses,” said Patrick Semmens, legal information director of the National Right to Work Foundation. “National Mediation Board members should comply with the letter and spirit of that policy by not making rulings that so directly benefit their recent associates, ALPA and AFA union officials, in their quest to force more workers into union ranks.”