JONATHAN CHAIT MAY 11, 2010
Commentary's Jennifer Rubin introduces a blog post with the comment, "In case you had any doubt how indebted Obama is to Big Labor." I read on, eager to see what outrageous favor Obama handed out to the great unions that bestride the economy like a colossus. Here's the story:
The National Mediation Board issued its final rule Monday that changed how workers could unionize at companies covered by the Railway Labor Act. Originally, a majority of workers at a company covered by the law had to vote for a union while those not voting were counted as “no” votes.
Under the new rule made final on Monday, if a majority of workers who cast votes said they wanted to form a union, the company would be unionized. Workers who fail to vote will not count for either side.
Wow, that's pretty indebted! So indebted that Obama changed the rule so that airline and railway workers now decide whether to unionize by majority rules, rather than having all non-votes count as a conscious endorsement of the status quo. If he's willing to do that, there's obviously no limit to how far he'll go to advance the Big Labor agenda.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page has been complaining about this rule change since last fall:
The board plans to stack the deck for organized labor in union elections. Under a proposed rule, unions would no longer have to get the approval of a majority of airline workers to achieve certification. Not even close. Instead, a union could win just by getting a majority of the employees who vote. Thus, if only 1,000 of 10,000 flight attendants vote in a union election, and 501 vote for certification, the other 9,499 become unionized.
Okay, I have a compromise plan. We'll revert to the old system, and non-votes will count as no votes. Then, for the sake of consistency, we'll apply that standard to elections across the board. In the November Congressional elections, you can replace the incumbent member of Congress only if a majority of all voting age citizens in the district votes for the challenger. Otherwise the incumbent stays. I mean, why is it fair to force the entire district to replace their member of Congress if only about a quarter of them vote to do so, and the other three-quarters are expressing their support for the status quo by either voting for the incumbent or staying home?