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FAA's Partial Shutdown

Publication Date: 
August 03, 2011
PBS - The Nightly Business Report
Darren Gersh

Professor Bill Gould spoke with Darren Gersh on the PBS’ Nightly Business Report to discuss the various labor issues involved in the FAA partial shutdown.

SUZANNE PRATT: Congress may have solved the debt deal, but it hasn`t managed to end a partial shutdown at the Federal Aviation Administration. That shutdown has Uncle Sam losing an estimated $29 million a day in airfare taxes. You may think the battle at the FAA is about those taxes. After all, they have expired and have to be renewed. But in fact, the fight in Congress is over organized labor.

Tonight, Darren Gersh explains why that is.

DARREN GERSH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: For 75 years, unions trying to organize airline workers have had to win support from a majority of all the employees who would be joining the union. Workers who don`t turn out to vote were effectively counted as no votes. But regulators appointed by President Obama recently changed those rules.


William Gould ran the National Labor Relations Board under President Bill Clinton, and says the idea is to treat airline workers like every other worker trying to form a union.

WILLIAM GOULD, STANFORD LAW PROFESSOR: All of the public employment labor relations statutes at both the federal, state, and local level all require a majority of those actually voting.