November 21, 2023
The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Majority Leader Schumer:
On behalf of our affiliated unions representing hundreds of thousands of airline and rail workers, I ask that you expeditiously schedule a Senate Floor vote on the reappointment of National Mediation Board (NMB) Members Linda Puchala and Deirdre Hamilton and the confirmation of Loren Sweatt to be a Member of the Board. The reappointment of Board Members Puchala and Hamilton and the appointment of Ms. Sweatt have been waiting for final Senate action for over four months; meanwhile, workers need a fully confirmed NMB that will continue to advance workers’ rights.
Created by Congress through the Railway Labor Act (RLA), the NMB plays an essential role in the facilitation of labor-management relations in the aviation and rail industries. Our affiliated unions collectively represent mechanics, pilots, flight attendants, engineers, conductors, maintenance of way employees, and other critical workers. These workers are best served when the NMB is reliably staffed with public servants who understand the importance of collective bargaining and who will seek fair and timely resolutions when disputes arise.
Recently, the NMB has played a critical role in resolving high-profile disputes and important issues for the workers we represent. These disputes include last year’s freight rail bargaining negotiations; past contract negotiations between aviation unions and airlines for pilots, flight attendants, dispatchers, and other critical aviation workers; collective bargaining disputes with commuter railroads; and organizing fights under the RLA for airline workers. Throughout their NMB service and their careers, Ms. Hamilton and Ms. Puchala have proven to be steadfast allies of workers. Given that nominees to the NMB are moved in a bipartisan fashion, we ask that Ms. Sweatt’s nomination be voted on as well to facilitate the confirmation of all three nominees.
The rail and aviation industries support good middle-class jobs that are critical to the economy and the mobility of Americans. NMB Members play an important role in protecting these jobs and expanding workforce opportunities in sectors covered by the RLA. Board Members Puchala and Hamilton have facilitated the advancement of workers’ rights in the rail and aviation industries through their leadership on the NMB. It is vital that they are confirmed for another term and Ms. Sweatt is confirmed as a new Board member to continue the progress of the NMB the past couple of years.
Greg Regan, President
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO