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But as NPR's Brian Naylor reports, the underlying issues that have prevented agreement on a multi-year FAA bill remain unresolved.
BRIAN NAYLOR: The agreement was announced yesterday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who called it a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told CNN last night he was happy the shutdown was about to end.
RAY LAHOOD: I'm thrilled for these hard-working people right in the middle of a construction season. They're going back to work Monday, and what they want to do: earn a good wage, take care of their families, and do construction jobs. And our FAA employees are going back to work too. I'm very, very happy.
NAYLOR: At its heart is a ruling by a rather obscure federal authority - the National Mediation Board. Last year the Board ruled that unions trying to organize airline employees would only need a majority of those voting in determining whether to unionize. That ruling reversed several decades of precedent, says Michael LeRoy, a professor of labor relations at the University of Illinois.
MICHAEL LEROY: Under the prior rule, which had been in existence for decades, it was necessary for a union to win a majority of all the employees in the defined bargaining unit. That meant that a nonvoter essentially voted no. That is how nonparticipation was counted.
NAYLOR: The major airlines are all unionized, all except for Delta, where flight attendants and ground crews have been unsuccessfully trying to organize for years, says LeRoy.
LEROY: This is just the next chapter in an ongoing story about the attempt by unions to organize Delta's workforce.
NAYLOR: Democrats in the Senate, led by Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, are fighting the Republican effort to overturn the new ruling.
JAY ROCKEFELLER: Delta wants to have this law changed so that it works for their advantage.
NAYLOR: Brian Naylor, NPR News, Washington.
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