FAA Reauthorization Extended One Month

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Labor politics continues to prevent passage of the FAA's funding reauthorization. The Senate passed its version of the bill some time ago but the House remains stalled on a provision that would make it easier for FedEx employees to unionize. The House voted Tuesday to extend the current funding authorization of the FAA for a month. It was due to run out on Friday. The one-month extension of the current reauthorization might suggest the matter is inching to the upper priority levels in the House, but at least one Capitol Hill publication suggests there's little interest in reconciling the differences between the House and Senate bills.

CQ Politics says the bill is barely on the legislative radar if the process thus far is any indication. "The reauthorization bill has never been formally sent to conference, and as a result negotiations have been conducted informally, mostly at the staff level," the publication says. It characterizes the outstanding disagreements as "member-level" issues. The FedEx amendment was introduced by Sen. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It would put FedEx employees under the authority of the National Labor Relations Act, the same legislation governing UPS employees. Under that legislation, employees have the ability to organize local unions while, under the Railway Labor Act, which governs FedEx employees, employees can only organize nationally.