Release #09.89
December 8, 2009

ALPA Supports Changes to Union Election Rules
Testifies On NMB Proposal to Change How Union Election Ballots Are Counted

WASHINGTON, DC – Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued the following statement after appearing at a public hearing this week to speak in support of the National Mediation Board’s proposed rule change regarding airline union elections.

Click on the image to view a photo slideshow of the hearing.

“ALPA speaks strongly in support of the Board’s efforts to remove the current significant bias against union representation in the balloting rules. ALPA also believes that the Board’s proposal is a long-overdue step to level the playing field in union elections by counting the wishes of the majority of voters participating rather than presuming, as the rule does today, that every worker who does not participate is voting against union representation.

“This fundamental bias in the current balloting system against union representation is unique to railroad and airline employees. No other group of private sector employees in the United States selects their representatives with similar anti-representational presumptions.

“The Board’s proposed rule change is a realistic but important update that ensures basic fairness and recognizes that conditions for voting have changed since the 1930s when employees in remote locations could not quickly or easily get information, communicate their sentiments, or cast ballots. The Board has good reasons to make a change now and it has the authority to do so.

“The Board’s proposed rule change more fully carries out all of the central purposes of the Act to foster peaceful, collectively bargained solutions to labor disputes in the rail and airline industries.

“ALPA stands united with the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and our fellow unions in the rail and airline industries that unanimously support this rule change.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


CONTACT: ALPA Media Relations, 703/481-4440 or