The great Railroad strike of 1877, lead to a lot of Acts being enforced to protect the interest of the Railway employees. In 1926,Railway Labor Act became a Federal Law, with the support of management and labor in the railway industry. This act got slightly amended in 1934 and in 1966. In 1936, it extended to the United States airline industry. It governs labor relations in the airline and railroad industries. It was administered by Board of mediation and was later enforced under the National Mediation Board, which is an independent Federal Agency.
Till today, the act provides a balanced framework for resolving the labor management matters in these two industries, including collective bargaining, employee representation issues and contract administration process and also situations where employees have chosen to be represented by the labor unions.
Purposes of Railway Labor Act:
• Avoid any disturbance from the interstate commerce by quick disposition of disputes between employees and their carriers
• Protects employees to exert any force to maintain and make any collective bargaining agreements
• Settle all disputes and rivalries arising out of application of collective bargaining agreements
• Provides procedures for mandatory dispute resolution and delay the abilities of any party to go for a strike over collective or grievances disputes
Representation Elections under Railway Labor Act:
The National Mediation Board conducts elections when a union declares for representing an employee from the carrier. It also defines the class of employees, who are eligible to vote, which covers almost all the employees involved in performing a particular job function.
A union which wants to get the voting rights for an unorganized group, must get an authorized card signed or any proof of support from minimum 50% of the eligible class.
Unlike the National Labor Relations Board which uses Walk- in elections, Mail Ballots are used by the National Mediation Board.