City to Re-Examine Requiring Airport Employers to Favor Union Organizers

The City of San Antonio said today it is rethinking that very controversial proposal to require private businesses that open operations at the Airport to accept labor unions, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The requirement that all airport operators accept what's called a 'Labor Peace Agreement' as a condition of operating at the airport came under withering criticism from several business groups which claimed it essentially turns the City into a labor union organizer, and would discourage local small businesses from locating at the Airport.

The City says it is now amending its Request for Proposals for operations at the Airport, which generally include shops selling food, books and magazines, and tourist items, to require that respondents submit two separate proposals, one with a Labor Peace Agreement and one without.  The City says the dual proposals will allow officials to determine just how much of a turnoff the LPA might be to convincing local business, which the City wants to encourage, to open at the airport.

A Labor Peace Agreement is a very controversial new system where a company agrees not to oppose labor union organization, essentially giving up their Supreme Court guaranteed rights of free speech.  The company also agrees to accept labor union certification by what is called 'card check,' where the workers simply sign a card agreeing to be represented by a labor union, instead of the usual secret ballot method. Opponents say 'card check,' which was pushed by the Obama Administration as a way of boosting dwindling labor union membership, is open to abuses and intimidation of workers.  The LPA also requires that the new union refrain from striking or picketing the business, at least for a certain period of time.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce compares the entire LPA concept as 'similar to the Godfather, having local governments use their clout to make private employers a deal they can't refuse.'

San Antonio critics pointed out that the big winners in the LPA at the airport would be the labor union bosses, who would reap a windfall from the new tsunami of union dues pouring into their pockets.

There were also concerns that the LPA conflicted with the city's commitment to advantage local, small, minority, women, and veteran owned businesses.

The City Council will be updated on the LPA idea later this month and will make a decision on whether it will be required for private airport operators.

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