ALPA Stands for Strong Unions and a Strong U.S. Economy in Opposing NMB Rule Change

Strong unions have led to economic stability for professional airline pilots and other workers across the United States and Canada. This stability and predictability, made possible by collective bargaining agreements, have provided jobs for hardworking Americans and allowed airlines to expand service to new markets and attract new passengers and freight shippers. But workers’ ability to choose union representation is under attack right now due to a proposed rule change by the National Mediation Board (NMB).

In testimony before the NMB, Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA’s president, spoke out against a proposed rule change that would lead to a two-year ban on organizing activities upon the decertification of a union representative. If not blocked, the rule change would mean that a group of employees who chooses to remove a party from representation duties would not be permitted to select a new representative for two years. Such a ban would make it more difficult for employees to maintain collective bargaining rights upon decertification and could lead to an erosion of existing bargaining relationships and agreements. The rule change, which is unnecessary because an established process already exists for aviation workers to remove or change union representation, would limit the rights of workers and could introduce instability in the airline industry at a time when demand is growing for both passenger and cargo air transportation.

The NMB is charged with mediating labor disputes between workers and management in the two industries covered under the Railway Labor Act (RLA)—airlines and railroads. These industries fall under the RLA because they are critical for maintaining stability in the larger national economy. In the air, both pilots and flight attendants are covered by the RLA. On the ground, technicians and ground crew workers fall under the legislation. The NMB’s proposed rule is not only unnecessary, but it seeks to deny the rights of workers to collectively bargain for fair wages and benefits, safe working conditions, and job security. We are grateful to Sen. Patty Murray and congressmen Peter DeFazio, Daniel Lipinksi, and Rick Larsen, who have sent letters to the NMB opposing this rule change. ALPA stands firm with our brothers and sisters at the Association of Flights Attendants-CWA, the Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO, and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in opposing this rule change.

Read Capt. DePete's full testimony.



Categories: Testimony