September 21, 2011
Last week Congress has taken a positive step toward averting another partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) when they passed a 4 month extension of funding for the operations of the FAA. This was a “clean” extension for funding which also includes a six-month extension of highway and transit programs. For the 22nd time in 4 years, Congress provided another temporary fix to keep the agency operational through January 31, 2012. Last week, the Senate passed the House’s spending bill by a vote of 92-6.
The only long term solution is to provide a permanent solution that will create jobs and upgrade an aging aviation infrastructure. At the center of the disagreement between the House and Senate bills remains the provision, inserted on behalf of Delta Air Lines that would amend the railway and labor act by forcing the National Mediation Board to alter their election laws. This provision when applied to Congressional elections, not one member of the 435 members of congress would have been reelected. This labor provision does not belong in a long term FAA bill, and it should never have been included in an aviation bill.
This four-month extension will now give a House and Senate Conference Committee time to work out the remaining differences between both congressional FAA bills. The Senate has already appointed their Conference Committee members but the House still has not appointed members to this committee. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure that the union-busting provision overturning fair and democratic union representation elections governed by the National Mediation Board is stripped from the final version of the FAA bill. This provision, which was inserted by Congressman John Mica (R-FL) Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, is included in the House FAA bill but not the Senate version.
We will also work to ensure that Flight Attendant safety and health provisions and other AFA supported provisions are included in the final version of a long-term FAA reauthorization. Your continued activism is very important as this legislative action progresses. Your calls to your member of congress will make a difference. We will be organizing a time in the near future to visit Capitol Hill and do congressional office visits regarding this and other legislative matters.
The goal of this e-activist newsletter is to keep you informed about the workings of the CAL AFA Government Affairs Committee and it will give you more opportunities to get involved as an activist member. Our goal is to keep the line of communications open with you as we go forward and you’re always welcome to get in touch with us at MECGOVT@CALAFA.ORG