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Rules for union elections at airlines questioned

ATLANTA (AP) - Lawmakers are questioning National Mediation Board rules that they believe make it difficult for air and rail carrier employees to unionize. And the head of a flight attendants union said the challenge has been exacerbated by management interference at Delta Air Lines.

The comments and testimony came during a hearing in Washington
before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the mediation board's supervision of elections for union representation.

Rep. James Oberstar of Minnesota, chairman of the committee, said he thinks the deck is stacked against unionization.

Read Van de Water, chairman of the National Mediation Board, testified that the rules have been in place for decades and that the board has worked hard to preserve the rights of workers to form unions if they choose.

But Patricia Friend, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, testified that the board has failed to sanction management at Atlanta-based Delta for waging what she called an "intensive anti-union campaign" that interfered withunion elections among the carrier's flight attendants in 2001 and earlier this year.

Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said in a statement that Delta respects its employees' right to decide if union representation is right for them.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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