Historic Policy Change Brings Democracy to Union Elections

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- National Mediation Board to End Archaic Voting Procedures The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) International President Patricia Friend issued the following statement today after the National Meditation Board (NMB) announced new voting procedures. Under the new guidelines, the majority of workers who actually vote in union elections will decide the election and the NMB will stop assigning "no" votes to workers who do not participate in the election.

"Today, we gladly usher in a new era of democracy. For far too long, flight attendants and other aviation and railway employees have faced significant obstacles in their quest for collective bargaining rights. Outdated and unreliable voting procedures have fostered a unique culture of voter suppression as companies understand that impeding union organizing merely requires preventing employees from voting. Employers and their outside union busting companies engaged in the most undemocratic of practices by openly encouraging workers to destroy ballots and to not vote. Those days are now over.

"Throughout this country, from school boards to the United States Congress, a majority of those casting ballots determine election outcomes. And for the first time in recent history, elections conducted by the NMB will be held to the standards and principles that our country was founded upon.

"Flight attendants still lack many of the basic worker protections provided to most Americans under federal laws, and that makes a union contract a necessity.

AFA-CWA works every day to fill those gaps in labor laws through collective bargaining and unionism. Our collective bargaining agreements have done what labor laws have not for our profession - they have created decent standards for flight attendant pay, health care coverage, rest and work rules, and provided job security. The progress we achieved together forged a career out of what was once considered a short term job.

"We applaud the NMB for taking this historic and courageous step to bring democracy to union elections. By allowing workers to have a voice in these elections, whether it be yes or no, will only bring benefits to all parties. We look to airline management and their third party supporters to respect their employees' voices and the concept that guides our country every day, and not to bog down this significant achievement in legal appeals." For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. More than 50,000 flight attendants at 21 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.

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