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Washington, D.C. – The National Mediation Board (NMB) is pleased to announce the arrival of new Board Member, Deirdre Hamilton. Ms. Hamilton was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 7, 2021. She was sworn in and assumed her position with the NMB on January 25, 2022.
Prior to becoming a Member, Ms. Hamilton worked as a staff attorney at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), working exclusively with the IBT’s Airline Division. At the IBT she represented most of the crafts or classes within the airline industry — including pilots, flight attendants, technicians, and aircraft cleaners — at both commercial and cargo air carriers. Before that, Ms. Hamilton was a staff attorney at the Association of Flight Attendants. In her career, she has handled a wide range of legal matters including National Mediation Board elections and mediation, collective bargaining support, contract enforcement, and litigation of Railway Labor Act issues. Ms. Hamilton began her career as a legal fellow in the General Counsel’s office at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Ms. Hamilton has been an active member of the Railway Labor Act legal community. She has served as a panelist at meetings of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Committee and the Railway and Airline Labor Law Committee. She has also served as a Senior Editor for the ABA Railway Labor Act Treatise.
Ms. Hamilton is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Michigan Law School.
The National Mediation Board (NMB) is an independent agency created by the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor management relations in the railroad and airline industries. To avoid serious disruptions to the Nation’s economy and protect the public interest, the Act imposes on carriers and their employees the duty of settling disputes through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. The NMB, headed by three Presidential appointees, has as its chief statutory responsibilities: (1) mediation of collective bargaining disputes; (2) determination of employee representation for collective bargaining processes; and (3) administration of a grievance arbitration system.
The U.S. Senate in a 52-48 vote Dec. 7 confirmed labor attorney Deidre Hamilton to the National Mediation Board (NMB), shifting control of the the government body that facilitates labor-management relations in the aviation and rail industries to a 2-to-1 Democratic margin.
Nominated by President Joe Biden in April, Hamilton bring more than two decades of labor expertise to the NMB. She has significant experience before the federal courts and the NMB on a wide range of legal issues including union elections, mediation, contract enforcement, and major and minor dispute claims, and has amassed an in-depth knowledge of the Railway Labor Act. Her most recent experience has been in the legal department of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters where she began working with the Airline Division in 2014.
SMART and 18 other unions sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Democratic U.S. Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray reminding the president that appointing new members to the National Mediation Board (NMB) should be prioritized and endorsed the appointment of Deirdre Hamilton and reappointment of Linda Puchala to the board.
President Biden The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. Washington, DC 20500 Via US Mail and Electronic Transmission Dear President Biden: We, the undersigned unions representing hundreds of thousands of Americans working in the airline and rail industries, take pleasure in expressing our strong support of Deirdre Hamilton to serve as a Member on the National Mediation Board (NMB), and for sitting NMB member Linda Puchala’s reappointment to the board. We also urge you to make these appointments immediately. Unlike other federal agencies, the Trump-appointed NMB will remain in control until new board members are nominated and confirmed by the Senate. With each passing day, the Trump NMB is allowed more opportunity to suppress the voices of aviation and rail workers, stifle collective bargaining rights, and undermine the Biden-Harris pro-worker agenda. 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. Collectively, our unions represent mechanics, pilots, flight attendants, engineers, conductors, and maintenance of way employees, among other critical roles. These workers are best served when the NMB is reliably staffed with public servants who understand the importance of collective bargaining and who, when disputes arise, will seek fair and timely resolutions. Both Ms. Hamilton and Ms. Puchala have impeccable qualifications for positions on the board, and have proven throughout their careers to be steadfast allies of workers. With over 20 years of experience, Ms. Hamilton has represented workers before federal courts and with the NMB on a wide range of legal issues, including union elections, mediation, contract enforcement, and major and minor dispute claims, and has amassed an in-depth knowledge of the RLA and how it functions. For the past 6 years, Ms. Hamilton has served as the Staff Attorney to the Airline Division at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. She has held similar positions as a Senior Staff Attorney at the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, and Legal Fellow at the International Association of Machinists. With her experience and command of the RLA, Ms. Hamilton would be in an excellent position to foster strong labor-management relations, protect the right of workers to form and join unions, and ensure that the mediation and arbitration duties of the Board are deployed to serve all stakeholders. Ms. Puchala has served as a member of the NMB since her confirmation by the U.S. Senate in 2009. Prior to her service as a Board Member, Ms. Puchala worked as a Mediator, Sr. Mediator (ADR) and the Associate Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services over a 10-year career at the NMB. During her tenure, Ms. Puchala has demonstrated leadership and professionalism that has earned her the respect of both parties across the mediation table. Ms. Puchala has also pursued innovative strategies to resolve pending arbitration cases, sought to modernize the NMB’s management practices and has fought for policies that will protect the rights of workers to have a union voice. Ms. Puchala also obtained important labor relations experience as a former International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, and a Staff Director, Michigan State Employees Association, AFSCME. The rail and aviation industries support good middle-class jobs that are critical to the economy and are even more important as the country seeks to recover from COVID-19 in the coming months and years. NMB members have an important role to play in protecting these jobs and expanding workforce opportunities in sectors covered by the RLA. Sincerely, Air Line Pilots Association, International Allied Pilots Association American Train Dispatchers Association Association of Flight Attendants, CWA Association of Professional Flight Attendants Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen Communications Workers of America International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International Brotherhood of Teamsters National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, SEIU NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots Service Employees International Union Southwest Airlines Pilots Association Transportation Communications Union/IAM Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO Transport Workers Union of America UNITE HERE International Union CC: Senator Charles Schumer Senator Patty Murray