FAA Under Shutdown Jeopardy Again
Another shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration is possible because lawmakers haven’t resolved a labor issue that’s holding up passage of a long-term funding bill for the agency, a key senator said Monday.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, d-w.va., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told aviation industry officials at a luncheon that a dispute between one airline and labor unions over a provision that would make it more difficult for airline workers to unionize is the chief holdup.
Rockefeller was apparently referring to Delta Air Lines, although he didn’t mention the airline by name.
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The biggest holdup is a labor provision in the House version of the long-term bill. Republicans want to overturn a National Mediation Board rule approved last year that allows airline and railroad employees to form a union by a simple majority of those voting. Under the old rule, workers who didn’t vote were treated as “no” votes.
The GOP provision has the backing of the airline industry. The biggest beneficiary would be Delta, the largest carrier whose workers aren’t primarily union members.
Rockefeller said there “is no movement, no give” in the GOP-controlled House. He said industry must put more pressure on Congress to pass a bill, which is critical to plans to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system.
“I need your help and, frankly, I haven’t been getting nearly enough,” Rockefeller chastised the luncheon audience, which included dozens of industry lobbyists.