The PJ Tatler

Tatler exclusive: Union that's pushing card check, fearing election defeat, suddenly all about 'free and fair elections'

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America (AFA-CWA) are locked in an election among United Airlines’ 20,000 to 25,000 flight attendants. The election will determine which union will represent United’s and Continental’s flight attendants. With the dues and support of as many as 25,000 workers on the line and one of the nation’s largest air carriers in the mix, this is an important election. Voting is underway and ends June 29.

Apparently it’s so important that, according to a letter we have exclusively obtained, the IAM is frantically pestering the AFA-CWA to stop “intimidating” the workers who are voting in the election. Yes, you read that right — a union that is affiliated with the AFL-CIO wants another union to stop intimidating people. Keep reading, because it gets even better than that.

The letter, dated May 19, 2011, and addressed from the IAM’s general vice president, Robert Roach, Jr.,  to Veda Shoock, president of the AFA-CWA, reads in part:

AFA-CWA has instructed Flight Attendants to call a phone number “to register your vote with AFA,” after they have voted in the United/Continental/Continental Micronesia representation election. How a Flight Attendant votes is a personal choice, and directing someone to reveal how they voted is a flagrant form of intimidation. Flight Attendants have already begun to register such complaints to the NMB.

Farther down in the letter, Roach writes (without a trace of self-reflection or awareness):

It is time to let Flight Attendants decide who they want to represent them in a free and fair election. If you value a Flight Attendant’s right to make a choice free from intimidation, then you should tell Flight Attendants that they do not have to “register” their votes with the AFA-CWA or with the IAM for that matter.

Roach is probably kicking himself for not thinking of the “register your vote with us” scam first.

Just so we’re clear, there is not a good guy or a true free choice among the two unions in this fight. The Communications Workers of America had its members captured on tape assaulting Tabitha Hale and shunning “intelligent debate” at FreedomWorks in Washington back in February. They are the “angry, yet impotent face of today’s labor movement.” The IAM, an AFL-CIO affiliate, is at this moment engaged in the aforementioned fight in South Carolina and is on the line to benefit if the NLRB’s lawsuit against Arizona and South Dakota succeeds. That lawsuit is aimed directly at destroying union secret ballot elections, the very thing Roach wraps himself in in the letter to the AFA-CWA. Not that the results of the United election really matter: Both IAM and AFA-CWA are, ultimately, part of AFL-CIO. That’s the kind of “free choice” Big Labor tends to offer: Not free, and not a real choice.

That this comes hot on the heels of the unions waging a massive campaign of intimidation in Wisconsin pegs the Irony Alert needle. That this comes hot on the heels of a national union campaign to push card check, which is legalized union intimidation to force workers into unions whether they want to join or not, buries the Irony Alert needle. And that IAM is the same union which is currently the instrument of the union-dominated National Labor Relations Board’s unprecedented attack on Boeing in South Carolina just snaps the Irony Alert needle in two. The irony itself is flowing so deep that I can’t even see the bottom. An AFL-CIO union…wants another AFL-CIO union…to stop intimidating people. To maintain the appearance of a free and fair election.