By David Gerber, Contributing Writer
A large union representing airport workers is taking aim at four Pennsylvania Republicans over what they say is an attempt to use the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization to curtail
their bargaining rights.
This week the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents many airport employees, will launch direct mail and robocall campaigns against about two dozen Republican congressmen.
Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-6), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-8), Lou Barletta (R-11) and Charlie Dent (R-15) will each be targeted by the campaign, reports the left-leaning Talking Points Memo website.
The CWA blames Republicans for partially shutting down the FAA in July. A temporary funding bill was passed August 4, which allowed nearly 74,000 furloughed employees to return to work and prevented a loss of $1.2 billion in ticket tax revenue. The FAA faces a September 16 shutdown if a deal is not reached.
At issue is that same provision, reinstating old rules governing how the National Mediation Board counts workers’ votes. Under the current system, a simple majority of those voting wins, just like in the House of Representatives. If Republicans get their way, those rules will change, and airline workers who abstain from voting on whether to form a union would be tallied as having voted “no.”
The Democratic Senate and White House, along with labor groups, strongly oppose this measure, which has become the key sticking point in broader negotiations over the country’s aviation infrastructure.
“Labor groups like the CWA are pointing fingers when Rep. Barletta is the one who took action to protect thousands of FAA jobs,” said Communications Director Shawn Kelly. “Rep. Barletta voted to protect FAA jobs numerous times in both short- and long-term measures. Their members’ union dues could better be spent calling on Senate Democrats to complete work on a long-term bill.”