Washington, DC (March 5, 2010) – The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the National Mediation Board (NMB) seeking records of any communication between two of its three members – both former union officials – and any union official or lobbyist concerning a dramatic rule change proposal on how a union is imposed on non-union railway and airline industry workers.
The NMB, the federal agency tasked with mediating labor disputes within the railroad and airline industries, is poised to roll back 75 years of precedent and change labor union organizing regulations, greasing the skids for union organizers to lock industry workers into union ranks. The new procedure would stack the deck in favor of unionization by granting a union monopoly bargaining power over workers if the union “wins” an election, no matter how few eligible workers actually participate in the vote. In fact, this means that a small bloc of workers could force union boss “representation” on the whole group as opposed to a true majority of all workers deciding for themselves.
Harry Hoglander and Linda Puchala are former union officials with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) unions, respectively. Both unions are a major part of an American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) union-led coalition urging the NMB to discard its longstanding policy. President Barack Obama’s appointment of Puchala in 2009 solidified a pro-forced unionism majority on the NMB.
The members voted 2-1 to preliminarily support the controversial change, and NMB Chair Elizabeth Dougherty has criticized the hasty actions of the two members.
In January, Foundation attorneys filed comments and testified with the NMB opposing the rule change and filed a motion seeking the recusal of Hoglander and Puchala as a conflict of interest.
“President Obama repeatedly promised a new era of openness, transparency, and ethics but has repeatedly violated that pledge when it comes to paying off Organized Labor bosses,” said Patrick Semmens, legal information director of the National Right to Work Foundation. “National Mediation Board members should comply with the letter and spirit of that policy by not making rulings that so directly benefit their recent associates, ALPA and AFA union officials, in their quest to force more workers into union ranks.”
The FOIA request seeks correspondence, transcripts or notes of meetings, reports or handouts, proposals, speeches, phone logs, or other writings or recordings between Hoglander or Puchala and union officials concerning the proposed change.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.