WASHINGTON - The Communications Workers Union launched a "Countdown to Shutdown" advertising campaign with flyers sent to 600,000 voters in 25 swing districts of Republican lawmakers on Aug. 30. The union asks voters to tell reps not to shut down the Federal Aviation Administration again.
The lawmakers, including tea party-backed freshmen such as Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., and Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., sit on the House Transportation Committee. They back GOP Committee Chairman John Mica's scheme to change union recognition election rules for airline and railroad workers.
Mica's scheme, in the stalled FAA bill, would force unions to win recognition votes at those carriers only by getting an absolute majority of all voters, not just of those who cast ballots. Non-voters would be counted as "no's." Delta Airlines, where the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA conducted organizing drives, is behind the scheme.
House stubbornness for Mica's scheme got so intense that the GOP shut the FAA down for several weeks during the summer, throwing 4,000 FAA employees and 70,000 construction workers on agency-sponsored improvement projects out of jobs. A temporary revival of the agency's authority expires in mid-September.
The union's direct mailing, which costs an estimated $500,000, says, "Americans are losing jobs because Congress is playing politics. Call Congress now and tell them to stop grounding our economy. Pass the FAA Reauthorization Bill." It then explains Mica's scheme.
"John Mica and some Republicans would rather play politics with real people's lives and the FAA reauthorization bill. At the request of their big corporate airline donors, like Delta, Republicans snuck unrelated union provisions into this critical legislation. Then Congress took off on vacation and shut down the FAA," the flyer adds.
The flyer concludes by urging constituents to warn lawmakers not to do it again, and to dump Mica's election rules scheme.