Senators argue union rules for airline mergers

Sens. Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.), Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE (D-W.Va.) and Tom HarkinTom HarkinDistance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream MORE (D-Iowa) said it was clear that Congress only intended for the higher election requirement to apply to new airline votes.

"The plain language and legislative history of section 1003, along with basic common sense, demonstrate that the provision had no impact on the [NMB's] current showing of interest requirement for mergers," they wrote. "This amendment to the [Railway Labor Act] merely establishes the showing of interest required where a union newly seeks to represent a workplace, rather than in the distinct situation where an organized workplace merges with another workplace."

Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonHouse sends resolution urging Trump to condemn white supremacists Senate approves resolution condemning white supremacist groups The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ga.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziWe can't allow Congress to take earned benefits programs away from seniors Senate approves Trump's debt deal with Democrats Senate panel might not take up budget until October MORE (R-Wyo.) and Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchFinance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reform MORE (R-Utah) argued in a filing of their own with the NMB that it was just as obvious that the legislation should be interrupted the opposite way.

"The plain language and intent of the new law have been mischaracterized in the public sphere," the Republican lawmakers wrote. "Under existing procedures the NMB requires the filing of 'an application' when requisition a representation election as part of a merger. There, there is no question that the new 50 percent standard is required where an application is filed, which includes mergers."

Part of the reason the definition of when the threshold applies has been an issue lately is because of a fight about a union election at American Airlines. The NMB ruled that an effort to organize a union vote at the airline that was conducted under the old labor rules was valid.

But American has countered in a lawsuit that the petition to hold the election should be thrown out because it was conducted under the old 35 percent rules.

The airline has not entered into a merger as it goes through bankruptcy proceedings, but officials from U.S. airlines have expressed interest in the company.

Mergers between United and Continental and Delta and Northwest have also tested combinations of unionized and non-unionized airline work forces in recent years.