New Mediation Board Ruling Allows Workers to Break Free From Union Influence

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On July 26, 2019, the National Mediation Board (NMB) declared its final rule which simplifies the process that workers can use under the Railway Labor Act to decertify a union that they oppose.

The NMB gave a brief summary of its recent rule change:

The National Mediation Board (NMB or Board) is amending its regulations to provide a straightforward procedure for the decertification of representatives. The Board believes this change is necessary to fulfill the statutory mission of the Railway Labor Act by protecting employees’ right to complete independence in the decision to become represented, to remain represented, or to become unrepresented. This change will ensure that each employee has a say in their representative and eliminate unnecessary hurdles for employees who no longer wish to be represented.

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix commented on this rule:

“At long last the National Mediation Board is providing airline and railroad workers covered by the Railway Labor Act a straightforward way to remove unwanted union “representation” through a decertification vote.

The previous system – where workers had to create a “straw man” union just to challenge an incumbent union – only served to stymie workers’ rights and demonstrated the historic bias of the NMB in favor of compulsory unionism. In fact, it wasn’t until the Foundation-won case of Russell v. NMB in 1983 that workers even had an established legal right to throw off their union “representative,” albeit only through the unnecessarily complicated strawman system which is now finally being replaced with a simplified process to allow workers to exercise that right.

The Foundation has long advocated this type of change in the union decertification process and we are pleased the NMB has – as we called upon it to do in comments filed earlier this year – finally made this commonsense reform.”

The full change can be viewed here.

During the NMB’s rulemaking procedure in April, the Foundation filed formal comments.

The Foundation’s comments can be read here.