Before a union can have an election for representation in the airline industry, they must first prove there is enough interest among the work group. The National Mediation Board (NMB), the agency that oversees union elections in the railroad and airline industry, requires valid interest cards from at least 50 percent of the targeted group. (See Interest Cards for more information.)
Here’s some helpful facts to know if the NMB schedules an election:
- Everyone is impacted – Everyone in the work group is affected by the outcome. If a union is voted in, it will represent everyone in the workgroup the election was held, whether or not they voted or even wanted the union.
- Majority of votes cast wins – The winner is determined by a majority of votes cast. The only way to vote NO is to VOTE NO. You can’t sit on the sidelines and expect your voice to be heard.
- NMB runs the process exclusively – Voting instructions with individual personal identification number (PIN) and voter identification number (VIN) will be sent to all eligible voters by the NMB, to the mailing address on file with the company.
- Votes are final – Once a vote is cast using that unique PIN and VIN, it cannot be changed or deleted.
- Voting is absolutely secret – All votes are confidential. The NMB only reports the total number of votes cast and the results of the election.
- An elected union is almost impossible to remove – Once a union is voted in under the RLA, it is extremely difficult to decertify it.
- Understand the write-in option, and just vote “no” – Voters choose between “yes” to unionization, “no” to unionization, and a “write in” option. The write-in option is a vote for representation, and it can help elect someone you don’t want. Take this example: 300 people vote overall, with 145 voting NO to a named union candidate, 140 voting YES to the union candidate, and 15 people writing in some other candidate. Because the total number of votes for representation – the “YES” votes plus the write-ins – equal 155, the group WILL be unionized. At that point, it’s just a question of which representative (the union candidate or the write-in) will win a subsequent run-off election. So even though more people voted “NO” than people voting for the union, the write-in votes push the “YES” votes over the line.
Questions? Ask us.