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Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

United MEC Government Affairs Committee Update

Date: April 1, 2012
Type: Report

ELECTIONS 2012

Presidential Politics

While the Republican National Convention in August will officially decide the Republican presidential candidate, the presidential election campaign season is clearly under way with Mitt Romney as the presumptive Republican nominee.  Since Romney rival Rick Santorum suspended his campaign, Republican Party leaders and establishment Republicans have been endorsing Romney’s bid to win the Republican presidential nomination. 

The upcoming November presidential election contest will be an incredibly close and hard fought race and we cannot afford to take anything for granted during this election cycle.  Anti-working family extremist groups are expected to pour billions, yes that is billions, into independent expenditures (think back to the Swiftboat campaign against presidential nominee John Kerry and times that by 100) to defeat President Barack Obama. 

AFA Votes Elections 2012  

It is now time to begin preparing for the November elections and our voter information activities.  Our goal will be to ensure that every eligible United Flight Attendant is registered to vote, has the information they need to vote early or absentee or on Election Day and is armed with the information they need to make an informed decision when they cast their vote.  

Our hard fought battle to hold voter registration/information drives on the United property is the result of MEC Grievance 3-85  This grievance allows AFA to set up voter information tables at each domicile office for a period of two weeks.  In the past, Local Onboard management has been very willing to work with Local AFA in order for us to set up manned or unmanned tables.  Before we actually schedule our voter registration/voter information activities in the Onboard Services office, the MEC Officers will contact United management. 

AFL-CIO State Federations and Central Labor Councils around the country are hosting one-day campaign schools to help train rank and file Union Members for upcoming Labor 2102.  These one-day programs include training on message, strategy and successful volunteer mobilization.  Please check with your State AFL-CIO to see if they are offering these types of programs in your area. 

Elections Have Consequences 

When we elect a President, we not only elect the person who will spend the next four years residing in the White House, but we are electing the person who chooses a Secretary of Labor, a Secretary of Transportation, a US Attorney General and a Secretary of State.  The President nominates or appoints the Directors of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Mediation Board (NMB) and US Supreme Court Justices.   

The Attack on Voting Rights

There have been some questions about why AFA would oppose voter identification laws.  As a recap from our October report, state legislatures across the country have been introducing voter ID laws that not only require state-issued photo identification,   but also place severe restrictions on voter registration efforts, early voting and voting by mail. 

These new voting law changes will have an impact on the 2012 presidential election race and other state and federal elections as they create a hardship for the elderly, students, minorities and the disabled.  More restrictive early voting laws will also impact our Flight Attendant community, as we often rely on early and absentee voting to cast our ballots.   

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

The Airline First Responder Workplace Fairness Act, H.R. 3824, would ensure that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) addresses fatigue concerns for Flight Attendants who serve as first responders for airline passengers.  To implement the bill’s requirements the FAA would establish an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to develop recommendations that would minimize Flight Attendant fatigue.  The bill would also require the ARC to be comprised of aviation safety experts, labor representatives and industry stakeholders. 

H.R. 3824 currently has 9 cosponsors.  If your U.S. Representative is not on the cosponsor list, please take the time to contact her/his office. 

The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, H.R. 3596 would prevent companies that ship U.S. call center jobs overseas from receiving federal grants or guaranteed government loans.  The bill would require call center employees to disclose their location and if foreign based, offer the caller the opportunity to be directed back to a call center in the United States. 

H.R. 3596 currently has 117 cosponsors. If your U.S. Representative is not on the cosponsor list, please take the time to contact her/his office.  

The Department of Labor extended the comment period for proposed amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to incorporate the eligibility provisions provided for airline flight crews in the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act of 2009. 

Other News from Capitol Hill

In December, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a rule that modernizes the NLRB election process and helps ensure workers have a fair way to form a Union without unfair delays and manipulation of the process by employers.  Anti-worker legislators in Congress have introduced a Resolution to reverse this rule.   

The Senate has placed this Resolution on their calendar but currently there are not enough votes in the Senate for this to pass.  Please contact both your US Senators and urge them to VOTE NO on this attack on workers’ rights, Senate Joint Resolution 36.  

The Senate rejected a Democratic proposal intended to ensure millionaires pay a minimum tax.  In a mostly party-line 51-45 vote, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward with debate on the so-called Buffet Rule legislation.  The Buffet Rule would have made millionaires pay at least the same tax rate as middle class workers.   

APRIL LABOR HISTORY

On April 13, 1919, the first women-led American Union the Telephone Operators Department of IBEW began their ultimately successful six-day strike across New England.  

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