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25 May 2010

Johnny Isakson Shouldn't Expect That Union Endorsement Now. . .

. . .But then again, he probably wasn't going to get it anyway.

Still, state and national labor leaders must be pulling their collective hairs out at Sen. Isakson's attempts to block a new rule that would make it easier for unions to organize.

The National Mediation Board issued its final rule Monday that changed how workers could unionize at companies covered by the Railway Labor Act. Originally, a majority of workers at a company covered by the law had to vote for a union while those not voting were counted as “no” votes.

Under the new rule made final on Monday, if a majority of workers who cast votes said they wanted to form a union, the company would be unionized. Workers who fail to vote will not count for either side.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) is gathering support among senators for using the Congressional Review Act to overturn the new rule. The act, rarely used, allows lawmakers to oversee and overturn regulations issued by any executive branch agency. Overturning a rule requires a resolution of disapproval approved by both the Congress and the president soon after the rule is issued. The resolution cannot be filibustered in the Senate.

Bogardus, Kevin (2010-5-24). Chamber joins suit against union rule. The Hill. Retrieved on 2010-5-25.

With a Democrat in the White House and Democrats holding a majority in Congress, Isakson's attempt to block the new union organizing rule isn't likely to be successful. However, Isakson's actions go directly after the heart of organized labor in an era where union membership is on the decline [Maher, Kris (2010-1-23). Union Membership Drops 10%. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved on 2010-5-25.].

If unions can't increase their numbers, and in fact are losing members, then it damages the labor community's ability to influence public policy and elections.

But I think Sen. Isakson knows that.