Wednesday, August 03, 2011

More Hostage Taking

If someone dies over the next month due to a failed FAA safety inspection, you have your Republican Congress to thank, once again:

Earlier Wednesday, Democrats decried what they saw as Republican "hostage-taking" -- since the situation had forced 4,000 agency employees out of work and airport safety inspectors to continue working without pay.

Democrats blame Republicans for the partial FAA shutdown, accusing them of reneging on their promise to put Americans back to work because the stand-off has prevented tens of thousands of construction workers to continue building airport projects.

"The FAA is in limbo. Airports are the economic engine of the small communities around the country, and that economic engine is now stuck in neutral," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters Wednesday. "Under the cover of the debt ceiling crisis, they are holding these aviation workers hostage until they get everything they want...they have taken brinksmanship again one step too far."

If the FAA impasse continues through Labor Day, the IRS stands to lose an estimated $1 billion in tax revenues on airline ticket sales because when the FAA financing expired last month the agency lost its ability to collect the taxes.

Looks like the GOP is -- again -- unionbusting:
The dispute centers on the House GOP’s insistence that the reauthorization of the FAA make it harder for unions to organize. The House passed an FAA reauthorization bill that would reverse an earlier policy that would allow union efforts to organize airlines to be decided by simple majority vote. Unions have pressed Democrats hard not to pass the House bill, and so far, they have agreed; this, plus other sticking points, led to the impasse over reauthorization.
A big GOP favor for Delta Air Lines?:

Delta, one of the few large airlines that is largely nonunion, has beaten back recent efforts by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to organize 13,000 Delta baggage handlers and other fleet service workers and 15,000 ticket agents and other passenger service workers. In November, the Association of Flight Attendants failed in its effort to be recognized as the union representing 20,000 flight attendants at Delta.

That effort failed even though the National Mediation Board, which oversees airline and railroad labor matters, a few months earlier changed a 76-year-old rule, making it easier for unions to win a representation election. Under the old rule, workers who did not vote were counted as “no” votes; under the new rule, only those casting ballots count.


Delta has spent $1.6 million this year lobbying on airline issues, including a bill that includes a Republican-proposed change in the voting rule. Gina Laughlin, a Delta spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview, “We’ve been consistent in our opposition to the rule change since it was proposed back in 2009.” She noted that JetBlue, SkyWest and FedEx have also opposed the rule change.

Good luck, all of you who are flying this summer.

Just be sure to pack your own parachute.

No comments: