Since 1934, rail or airline union officials have needed a majority of affected employees to affirmatively vote for union officials before they could be installed as monopoly-bargaining agents. The board previously backed this procedure under both Democratic and Republican administrations. A recent rule change, however, allows union operatives to push rail and airline workers into Big Labor’s ranks with a majority of only those workers who choose to vote. The NMB has yet to actually conduct an election under the new rules, so exactly how it will play out is unclear — but in theory, thousands of employees can now be forced into union ranks based on the votes of only a tiny percentage of their peers. For railways and airlines, bargaining units are nationwide, so this policy gives unions a great incentive to suppress the vote in areas with high union opposition.
The NMB’s abrupt rule change — and its consequences for employees — is a portent of things to come. After a highly publicized legislative setback, Big Labor’s political operatives have succeeded in lulling the public to sleep while they push their agenda into law.
This Labor Day, Americans should celebrate the rights of employees by remaining vigilant against Big Labor’s power grabs. Anything less, and American workers will be left sadly vulnerable to workplace abuse.
– Mark Mix is president of both the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the National Right to Work Committee.