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Senate Proceeding on Sep 23rd, 2010 :: 1:03:40 to 1:17:00
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Johnny Isakson

1:03:26 to 1:03:47( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will now be two hours for debate on the motion to proceed, with the time equally divided and controlled between the senator from iowa, mr. harkin, and the senator from georgia, mr. isakson, or their designees. mr. isakson: madam president, i yield myself up to 15 minutes of the time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. isakson: madam president, on

Johnny Isakson

1:03:40 to 1:17:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Johnny Isakson

Johnny Isakson

1:03:48 to 1:04:08( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: may 11, 2010, the national mediation board, the board that oversees labor relations in transportation and rail and airlines finalized a regulation repealing a 75-year-old majority rule. under the majority rule, a majority of the organizing unit was required to affirmatively vote yes to unionize.

Johnny Isakson

1:04:09 to 1:04:31( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: the repeal of this rule means that now a bargaing unit can organize essentially permanently the entire organization of the unit. today i'm asking this body to asks s.j. 30 to undo this rule change under the procedures created by the congressional review act of 1996. this law allows congress to disapprove regulatory rules issued by federal agencies by

Johnny Isakson

1:04:32 to 1:04:52( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: enacting a joint resolution of disapproval. this resolution will revoke a recent regulation promulgated by the national mediation board, eliminating the old majority rule that had been in place for 75 years under 12 presidential administrations. under the old rule, a majority of the workers in the organizing unit were required to affirmatively vote yes in order

Johnny Isakson

1:04:53 to 1:05:13( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: to organize. under the new rules, however, only a majority of those voting are required to organize. let me give you an example. if an organizing unit had 10,000 employees, under the 75-year-old rule, 5001 would have had to vote affirmatively for a union. under the new rule, if only

Johnny Isakson

1:05:14 to 1:05:34( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: 4,000 turned out to vote, only 2001 would be able to unionize. in fact, in large measure, it seems to me it's a card check light. minority rules overrules a majority. there is no sound rule or policy basis for hastily changing a rule that has been in place and upheld repeatedly for 75 years. throughout this time, the

Johnny Isakson

1:05:35 to 1:05:55( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: majority rule has furthered the primary purpose of the railway labor act, which is, and i quote -- "to avoid any interruption of commercial or the operation to the carrier engaged therein." the supreme court of the united states has upheld the rule not once but twice. the national mediation board under both democratic and republican administrations previously rejected changes to

Johnny Isakson

1:05:56 to 1:06:17( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: the majority rule on four separate occasions. in fact, the national mediation board under former president jimmy carter of georgia concluded that only congress could make such a decision. even the obama administration's own labor department defended the soundness of the majority rule, writing on october 8, 2009, and i quote -- "for 70

Johnny Isakson

1:06:18 to 1:06:39( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: years, the board is required when there is no representative for just one organization -- and just one organization seeking to be represented that a majority of the workers in the craft or class vote for that organization." in so doing, president obama's own labor department argued that all past boards, and i quote -- "reasonably construed" the railway labor act.

Johnny Isakson

1:06:40 to 1:07:01( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: as former national mediation board chairman elizabeth doherty wrote in her strong dissent of the majority ruling in this case that making this rule would be an unprecedented event in the history of the national mediation board. she continued -- "regardless of the composition of the board or the inhabitant of the white house, this independent agency has never been in the business

Johnny Isakson

1:07:02 to 1:07:22( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: of making controversial, one-sided rule changes at the behest of only labor or management. -- or management." the majority rule is not unfair to organizing efforts as two-thirds of the 1,850 reported elections since 1935 have resulted in a union. moreover, an average of 72% of airline and railroad employees

Johnny Isakson

1:07:23 to 1:07:44( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: are represented by unions while only 8% of private sector workers are union represented. one of the reasons the majority rule was approved is because of the recognition of union under the railway labor act is essentially permanent, and i reiterate that. the decision is essentially permanent and irrevocable. thus, to reference by my example

Johnny Isakson

1:07:45 to 1:08:06( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: earlier, the minority of 2001, an employee group of 10,000 could irrevokably unionize an organization and make it permanent. quoting the obama administration's labor department again -- "unlike the national labor relations act, the railway labor act does not provide for a decertification process." does not provide for a decertification process.

Johnny Isakson

1:08:07 to 1:08:27( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: therefore, the union certification continues until other unions make a showing of interest to represent the class or craft. consequently, it is of utmost importance that a certified union has the support of the workers it is certified to represent. while existing practice allows for a sum bettersome and slow

Johnny Isakson

1:08:28 to 1:08:48( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: straw man process to disillusioned process, the railway labor act has no decertification process as there is under the national labor relations act. the current straw man union disillusion process is byzantine and nearly impossible for workers to use. this is how national mediation board chairman doherty described

Johnny Isakson

1:08:49 to 1:09:09( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: the process -- "employees who no longer wish to be represented by a union must select an individual to stand for election, the so-called strong man, convince a majority of eligible voters in the craft or class to sign authorization cards for that individual while attempting to explain that this individual is not actually going to represent them and then file an application with the board.

Johnny Isakson

1:09:10 to 1:09:31( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: if the requisite showing of interest is met, an election is authorized and the employees must vote either for the straw man, with the hope that he will later disclaim interest in representing the craft or class, or abstain from voting." what a ridiculous process that is. unfortunately, the new rule allows no corollary process by which employees can choose or

Johnny Isakson

1:09:32 to 1:09:52( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: opt out of unionization. thus, the obama administration greatly lowers the bar for unionization while continuing to ensure that it is nearly impossible to decertify a union. in teamsters verizon brac, the circuit court wrote that "it is inconceivable that the right of collective representation

Johnny Isakson

1:09:53 to 1:10:13( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: vanishes entirely if the employees of a unit want to choose collective representation. on its face, that is the most unlikely rule, especially taking into account the inevitability of substantial turnover of personnel within the unit. if the obama administration truly sought to more accurately measure employee choice, they would have provided a parallel

Johnny Isakson

1:10:14 to 1:10:35( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: process by which employees could vote out a union in an election conducted in the same manner as the election which certified the union in the first place. of course, they did not do that. quoting chairman doherty again -- "apparently, employee choice only matters to the majority when it relates to changing the status quo from no representation to representation, but not the

Johnny Isakson

1:10:36 to 1:10:57( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: other way around." madam president, this impact is dramatic in my state and a dramatic mabt on delta airlines which is headquartered in my state. on april 14, 2008, delta and northwest airlines announced a merger. before the merger, delta was a predominantly nonunion organization. its pilots were unionized, but

Johnny Isakson

1:10:58 to 1:11:18( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: flight attendants and ground personnel were nonunion. delta employees, many of whom reside in georgia, were and are some of the most dedicated employees of any company in the united states and some of the best paid employees in the airline industry. which explains why delta employees have voted down six

Johnny Isakson

1:11:19 to 1:11:39( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: unionization drives since 2000 alone. some of the former employees of northwest, which was a much smaller operation than delta, would like the new delta to adopt their old labor agreements. those old labor agreements at northwest led to a long history of labor strife, lower pay and burdensome work rules. i say leaving that decision up to the workers.

Johnny Isakson

1:11:40 to 1:12:01( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: the benefits of a union representative are so great, then why is the need to change the rule? this administration simply refuse toss obey the will of the majority of the class and has chosen to side with the union in the passing of this rule. as national mediation board chairman doherty has written, the board's actions are targeted at 40,000 employees of two airlines. the largest group of elections

Johnny Isakson

1:12:02 to 1:12:24( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: in the history of the national mediation board. i believe it is harmful to the reputation and credibility of the national mediation board for it to take a position in favor of a change to our election rules during these elections. in short, we are here today for one reason and one reason only. the obama administration has chosen to tilt the outcome of unionization elections at delta

Johnny Isakson

1:12:25 to 1:12:45( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: airlines in favor of the transit unions. let me discuss the integrity of this process that took place at the board. once confirmed by the senate, revoking the majority rule was clearly job one for members petula and hoglander. only five weeks after mr. hoglander was confirmed in 2009, the afl-cio requested the

Johnny Isakson

1:12:46 to 1:13:06( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: rule change on september 2, 2009. two months later, on november 2, the national mediation board issued the proposed rule, not coincidentally, the transit union immediately withdraw their application to organize delta, giving hoglander and petula more time to stack the deck in their favor.

Johnny Isakson

1:13:07 to 1:13:27( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: public remarks from the union of flight attendants have since confirmed their insider knowledge of the proposed rule. on november 6, the democrat members of the national mediation board told chairman doherty that they had prepared a final version of the proposed rule and that she had only one and a half hours to consider their proposal. further, the democrat majority told her that she would not be

Johnny Isakson

1:13:28 to 1:13:49( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: permitted to publish a dissent in the federal register. of course, publication of a dissent is not prohibited by any agency. finally, on may 11, 2010, the democratic majority issued their final rule, having prevented an honest and forthright debate and comment. all of this from an administration that prides

Johnny Isakson

1:13:50 to 1:14:11( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: itself in transparency. throughout their effort to repeal the majority rule, the democratic majority on the national mediation board intentionally left chairman doherty out of the process. as she wrote in her stinging dissent -- "this rule was drafted without my input or my participation. i am concerned that the course of conduct by two former union

Johnny Isakson

1:14:12 to 1:14:37( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: leaders plainly reflects a predetermination to proceed with a course of action beneficial to transit unions at the expense of fairness and sound public policy." chairman doherty is correct when she writes -- "independent agencies have an obligation to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. this board's failure to do so in essence damage the board's

Johnny Isakson

1:14:38 to 1:14:59( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: reputation irreparably." the national labor relations board, oftentimes referred by many in their union process, clearly this administration is afraid the employee free choice act which it promotes will not pass the senate in the near future. as a result president obama repeatedly assured bosses in washington and his administration will use federal regulatory agencies and

Johnny Isakson

1:15:00 to 1:15:20( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: executive orders to implement a radical agenda. we are beginning to see the impact the former union boss craig becker. mr. becker was rejected by this body on a bipartisan vote. the president responded by thwarting the will of the senate and extending mr. becker to a recess appointment. since assuming his position, mr. becker has been anything but

Johnny Isakson

1:15:21 to 1:15:41( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: impartial to the unions. he's refused to recuse himself in case involving his old employer, the seiu, and is attempting to check business throughout the country. last week president obama said what we've done is try to do as much as we can administratively

Johnny Isakson

1:15:42 to 1:16:02( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: to make sure it's easier for unions to operate. the repeal of the majority rule fits into this pattern. it is yet another attempt by the obama administration to circumvent the congress of the united states and vilify american business. as the supreme court wrote in russell vs. the national mediation board in 1985 -- quote -- "employees were given the

Johnny Isakson

1:16:03 to 1:16:23( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: right in the railway labor act not only to opt for collective bargaining but to reject it as well." unfortunately, the obama administration and two democratic nominees to the national mediation board, in repealing this 75-year-old rule without congressional approval, or adequate reasoning, have recklessly tossed aside the

Johnny Isakson

1:16:24 to 1:16:44( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: fairness and impartiality to benefit their former bosses, the labor union movement. in so doing they eviscerated the right of the supreme court to articulate. the congressional review act is the appropriate legislative vehicle for congress to undo they assault on workers' rights. i urge my colleagues to support this resolution of disapproval. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that letters supporting

Johnny Isakson

1:16:45 to 1:17:01( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: this resolution from the united states chamber of commerce, the national association of manufacturers, the americans for tax reform and americans for limited government be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. isakson: i would also ask unanimous consent to include some of the dozens of letters i

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