The 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) workers who lost two weeks of pay when they were furloughed during the Republican shutdown of the FAA, will receive back pay, the agency announced Friday.
House Republicans forced the shutdown of the FAA when they refused to vote for a clean extension of funding reauthorization for the agency that did not include provisions to overturn democratic union election rules for aviation and rail workers.
The August shutdown also cost 70,000 construction workers two weeks’ pay when the FAA was forced to issue stop work orders on more than 200 airport projects that halted important airport safety improvements. The shutdown cost some $400 million in uncollected airline ticket taxes.
The Republican target in the FAA shutdown was union election rules adopted last year by the National Mediation Board (NMB). Those rules say air and rail elections should be decided by a majority of votes cast. Previously under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which covers rail and airline workers, each worker who did not cast a vote in a union representation election was automatically counted as a “No” vote. The public outcry over the shutdown was enormous.
In September, the House and Senate agreed to a temporary FAA reauthorization bill that runs through January. When Congress considers a permanent FAA reauthorization next year, Republicans are expected to launch another attack against the fair and democratic union election rules.