Union hypocrisy: One union accuses another of voter intimidation

posted at 1:12 pm on June 2, 2011 by Tina Korbe

A revealing union representation election is currently underway. Both the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America (AFA-CWA) want to represent the 20,000 to 25,000 flight attendants in the newly merged United and Continental Airlines workforces.

The AFA-CWA wants the privilege so badly it has adopted one of the oldest intimidation strategies in the books: The union instructed flight attendants to call a phone number to register their votes with the AFA-CWA.

The IAM wants the privilege so badly it has shamelessly accused the AFA-CWA of a “flagrant form of intimidation.” From where I sit, the AFA-CWA’s “call and tell us your vote” strategy ought to have been OK with the card-check-supporting and secret-ballot-opposing IAM (although, just to be clear, it’s not OK to me).

But, no — dues are on the line. So, the general vice president of IAM, Robert Roach, Jr., sent a letter to Veda Shook, president of AFA-CWA, to complain. The letter states:

AFA-CWA has instructed Flight Attendants to call a phone number “to register your vote with AFA,” after they have voted in the United/Continental/Continental Micronesia representation election. How a Flight Attendant votes is a personal choice, and directing someone to reveal how they voted is a flagrant form of intimidation. Flight Attendants have already begun to register such complaints to the NMB.

Intimidating employees not to vote is a tactic used by management, not one used by a group that is supposed to fight for workers’ rights.  Flight Attendants are guaranteed by law that their votes are confidential. They should only reveal how or if they voted if they freely choose to do so.

I couldn’t agree more, but, as Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler points out, this is particularly rich coming from the IAM, which is presently engaged in a legal battle aimed to destroy secret ballot elections. Perhaps even more importantly, both the IAM and AFA-CWA are AFL-CIO affiliates — so the United representation election couldn’t exactly be free or fair in the first place. Preston captures the irony memorably:

That this comes hot on the heels of the unions waging a massive campaign of intimidation in Wisconsin pegs the Irony Alert needle. That this comes hot on the heels of a national union campaign to push card check, which is legalized union intimidation to force workers into unions whether they want to join or not, buries the Irony Alert needle. And that IAM is the same union which is currently the instrument of the union-dominated National Labor Relations Board’s unprecedented attack on Boeing in South Carolina just snaps the Irony Alert needle in two. The irony itself is flowing so deep that I can’t even see the bottom. An AFL-CIO union…wants another AFL-CIO union…to stop intimidating people. To maintain the appearance of a free and fair election.

Talk about flagrant. This is blatant hypocrisy on the part of IAM or I don’t know what is.


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Unions going to the mattresses…

Cue Godfather music

Roy Rogers on June 2, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Like Hamas and Hezbollah accusing one another of being Jew-haters.

Bishop on June 2, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Locals even who are members of the same union are notorious for infighting and for not even acknowledging when a sister local at the same work site goes on strike. Some locals will support Republican candidates even if their national supports Democrats.

This notion that these unions are somehow a united front is the result of propaganda from themselves and from the Right.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 2, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Cool, could be fun…keep us updated…

…no Weenergate update in 35 minutes…cmon!!

DamnYankee on June 2, 2011 at 1:23 PM

The pot, the kettle and a election.

an election.

ebrawer on June 2, 2011 at 1:29 PM

How about… the workers say NO to unions entirely?

Rebar on June 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM

How about… the workers say NO to unions entirely?

Rebar on June 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM

exactly….let’s just get rid of unions and voila, no more problems of this sort!

search4truth on June 2, 2011 at 1:36 PM

exactly….let’s just get rid of unions and voila, no more problems of this sort!

search4truth on June 2, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Exactly. Under a Socialist system unions are indeed meaningless as the State determines wages, working conditions and benefits, and cause problems like Solidarity did over in Poland.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 2, 2011 at 1:46 PM

The AFA-CWA wants the privilege so badly it has adopted one of the oldest intimidation strategies in the books: The union instructed flight attendants to call a phone number to register their votes with the AFA-CWA.

Is it time yet to play the RICO card???

How does it work?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) builds a case that the union is a racketeer-dominated organization. The strength of their case depends on evidence it accumulates through investigations by the FBI, testimony at trials, convictions of officials, etc. Based on the evidence, the DOJ files or threatens a suit under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Under the RICO law, a federal court can order the union to be placed under the direct trusteeship of a court-appointed official. The filing of a RICO suit sometimes brings the union to the table. Union officials may agree before a suit is filed to a “consent agreement” or after the RICO suit is filed, they may reach a “consent decree” which is enforced by a federal court. The agreements and decrees may contain the terms of a monitorship.

We need a new AG.

Where are the GOP House subpoenas of AG Holder???

Roy Rogers on June 2, 2011 at 1:50 PM

The left is the party of hypocrisy. They take the cake.

tinkerthinker on June 2, 2011 at 1:52 PM

More AFA-NLRB shenanigans:

Federal board to investigate Delta union election

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110601/ap_on_bi_ge/us_delta_labor

marinetbryant on June 2, 2011 at 2:06 PM

marinetbryant on June 2, 2011 at 2:06 PM

OOORAH!!!!

Roy Rogers on June 2, 2011 at 2:19 PM

It’s goodfellas.

mizflame98 on June 2, 2011 at 3:07 PM

mizflame98 on June 2, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Wise Guys

Roy Rogers on June 2, 2011 at 3:08 PM

@ebrawer: Corrected. For the record, I *hate* typos like that — so thanks for the correction!

Tina Korbe on June 2, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Blatant hypocrisy stopped worrying those people a long time ago.

GarandFan on June 2, 2011 at 5:45 PM

I use to work at United Airlines. Back after 9/11 the airline was in dire straits. Yet the IAM was actively trying to get huge raises! Their members just couldn’t comprehend how much financial trouble the airline was in. They were even going to go on strike. I was one of the management employees who volunteered to help at customer service desks in another state if the union went on strike. We joked about how we would get back home as we knew that, if the union went on strike, there was the possibility we could be stranded after the airline declared bankruptcy. The unions were so out of touch, and today they still are. They don’t comprehend how hypocritical their positions are.

MeAlice on June 2, 2011 at 10:12 PM