News Releases

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Isakson Urges National Mediation Board to Act Objectively on Delta Flight Attendant Election Results

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today urged the National Mediation Board to act objectively when considering an interference claim by the Association of Flight Attendants regarding the decision by flight attendants at Delta Air Lines to reject union representation.

"The National Mediation Board has demonstrated that it will stop at nothing to unionize these employees," Isakson said. "Despite attempts by the NMB to make the election environment as favorable as possible to unions, the flight attendants at Delta have clearly stated their preference against unionization. It is imperative that the NMB respects the outcome of this vote."

More than 94 percent of Delta flight attendants, or 18,760 out of 19,887 eligible employees, voted in the election to determine whether or not they preferred to be represented by the Association of Flight Attendants. There were 9,544 votes cast against and 8,778 in favor of joining the AFA union.

Isakson's letter to NMB Chairman Harry Hoglander and Members Linda Puchala and Elizabeth Dougherty advises them to "consider as their principal constituents not the unions but rather the employees whose choice you are sworn to protect."

An additional 36 senators also signed the letter, which is attached.

The National Mediation Board issued a final rule change on May 11, 2010, that has affected companies under the jurisdiction of the Railway Labor Act by allowing union elections to be decided by only a majority of workers who cast ballots, reducing the number of votes it takes for a union to organize permanently. Previously, a union could only be approved if a full majority of all employees voted to do so under the "majority rule" procedure, which had been in place since the creation of the National Mediation Board in 1934.

Isakson, who serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety that has jurisdiction over labor issues, has argued the National Mediation Board does not have the authority to change this election procedure without Congressional authorization. The Supreme Court has upheld the "majority rule" twice, and the National Mediation Board previously rejected requests to change it four times under both Democratic and Republican administrations.