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Right Turn
Posted at 08:45 AM ET, 08/05/2011

Democrats demagogue and then cave on the FAA

Yesterday a temporary solution was reached in the FAA dispute. The Post reports:

Congressional leaders reached agreement Thursday on temporary funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, ending a stalemate that cost 4,000 furloughed federal workers almost two weeks of pay and shortchanged the Treasury of more than $300 million.
“This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday afternoon. “But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that.”. . . .
Four days after what they described as “bullying” by House Republicans, Senate Democrats gave in and accepted the House extension to which they had so vociferously objected.

Yes, it does seem to be a familiar pattern now for Democrats: Holler, claim “blackmail” and then give in. In this case, however, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Democrats were trying to use the labor issue to ingratiate themselves with Big Labor and to slam those mean Republicans. On Wednesday House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) put out a statement that read:

All it will take to end this crisis is for the Senate to pass the House-approved FAA extension. The only reason so many jobs are at stake is Senate Democratic Leaders chose to play politics rather than pass the House bill. I respect the fact that Senators have certain objections, but they have had two weeks to respond to the House bill and done nothing, leaving tens of thousands of workers in limbo. The House has done its job, and now it’s time for Senators to do theirs.”

And that’s precisely what Reid finally agreed to do. A senior Senate adviser explained to me what had happened: “They could have done this before they left [on vacation].” But, he said, Democrats’ finger-pointing at Republicans “tried, [but] failed” to alter the situation. So naturally, Democrats had to retreat.

In this case that means that once again funding is restored, but Republicans will have the opportunity to get at a fundamental issue regarding labor organizing:

For 76 years, airline and train employees who didn’t cast ballots in elections to organize a union were counted as “no” votes against unionization. That was at odds with the way other unions, overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, organize. The NLRB limits the counting of union election votes to those who cast ballots.
Ever since the National Mediation Board limited no-votes, making it easier to organize, Republican lawmakers started pushing to either undo that rule or balance it, by making it easier for [employees] to “decertify,” or unorganize.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Tuesday said Congress needed to take a stand against the mediation board rule, because it allowed as few as 51 employees to unionize a company of 1,000, if only 100 showed up to vote, he said.
“I believe that what the National Mediation Board did is absolutely wrong and somebody has to stand up to them,” Hatch said.

Understand that as things currently stand the absentee votes don’t count in a certification but they do count as “no” votes in decertification effort.

That’s what Democrats were defending — a labor rule that is patently biased in favor of unions. And to get it they were willing to see 4,000 workers furloughed. Could there be a better example than this of the Democratic-Big Labor alliance acting against the interests of actual workers?

By  |  08:45 AM ET, 08/05/2011

Categories:  Economy, law, Senate Democrats

 
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