Friday, July 22, 2011

FAA might shut down tonight over workers' rights

No kidding.

The law authorizing spending for the Federal Aviation Administration expires tonight. The House and the Senate can't agree on a bill to keep it going. The reason? Extremists in the House want to make it harder for railroad and airline workers to organize. They want absent voters to be counted as "no" votes in National Mediation Board union elections. The Senate doesn't agree. (Nor do we.)

Rep. Kris Gibson, a New York Republican, explains why he agrees with the Senate in the video above.

And here's the Associated Press on what will happen if the House and Senate can't agree by midnight:
Portions of the Federal Aviation Administration will shut down at midnight — putting nearly 4,000 people temporarily out of work and allowing airline passengers to buy tickets without taxes — unless Congress can resolve a partisan dispute over legislation to temporarily extend the agency's operating authority.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday the government will lose about $200 million a week in airline ticket taxes and $2.5 billion in airport construction projects will come to a halt if the Federal Aviation Administration is forced to shut down.
A partial shutdown looks increasingly likely because Congress hasn't been able to agree on legislation to extend the FAA's operating authority, which expires at midnight Friday. Whatever happens in Washington, airlines will still operate as normal and air traffic controllers would remain on the job.
And here's Laura Clawson at Daily Kos explaining
Residents of Florida ...should be aware that a shutdown could cost their state $88 million in construction funding.
(Rep. John Mica is the Florida Republican heading the House negotiating committee.)

Notes Clawson,
All this in pursuit of a flatly antidemocratic standard for union representation elections.