The Locker Room

Barnes explores the latest hit against private-sector unions

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:05 PM

Fred Barnes' latest article for The Weekly Standard explores the significance for the pro-union Obama administration of a recent vote against unionization of 56,000 Delta Airlines employees:

With the Obama administration on their side, the unions expected to win the elections and end Delta’s status as the only major airline with a largely nonunion workforce. (Delta pilots have been union members for years.) But the AFA and IAM lost in what was not only a shattering defeat for labor, but also a reflection of the sharply diminished appeal of unions for most workers today.

The final election, conducted last week, delivered the most stunning verdict. Delta workers at airports and reservation centers rejected the IAM, 70-30 percent. In November, flight attendants voted against unionization, 52-48 percent. Ramp (or “under the wing”) employees voted not to join the IAM, 53-47 percent. And maintenance workers turned down the IAM more decisively, 72-28 percent. Sensing defeat, labor unions had earlier decided not to attempt to unionize four other groups of employees: mechanics, technical writers, meteorologists, and “simulated technicians.”

It was a clean sweep for Delta and shocking to labor organizers. ...

To defeat the union campaign, Delta had to overcome a serious obstacle put in its path by the Obama administration. Airlines, like railroads, are subject to the Railway Labor Act, under which labor relations are governed by the National Mediation Board (NMB). The administration created a pro-union board, which then changed election rules to favor unions, especially the two seeking to organize Delta.

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