Minority Rule?

James Sherk /

Should a union need the support of most workers at a company in order to represent them? Most people would say yes—but most people are not union bosses. Unions want to represent as many dues paying members as possible. Whether those workers want their services is beside the point.

At the behest of union lobbyists, President Obama’s appointees to the National Mediation Board (NMB) rewrote the rules governing airline union elections. For the past 75 years, unions had to win the support of a majority of employees at an airline to unionize it. Now they need support from only a majority of those who turn out to vote.

This is a crucial difference, because workers in the airline industry are spread far and wide. Many airlines have many employees at a few major hubs, with smaller groups of employees stationed at regional airports around the country. Under the new rules, unions can focus their organizing efforts on the hubs and ignore the rest of the workforce, who may not even be aware that the election is happening. The new rules are designed to allow unions to organize a company even if only a small minority of workers supports them. (more…)