Did the IAM withdraw its application in order to await a ruling on the NMB's move to ease the task of unionization? Spokesman Joe Tiberi said no. "This is a totally separate issue from the NMB rule change," he says. "It was prompted by Delta's filings with the NMB." Jerry Glass, a labor consultant who has worked for various airlines, said the proposed NMB rule change should not apply to Delta. "If the NMB wants to change its voting rules, it should hold hearings in the normal course of business," he says. "This means that it needs to move forward on the union's request for a representation now and not hold up the election." Glass also said the agency is overstepping if it tries to change rules that have been in place for decades. "Both Democratic and Republican appointed boards have rejected changes in the voting process on four separate occasions," he said. He added that while the proposed new rules would make it easier to choose union representation, they make no provision to allow workers to decertify or change unions. But AFA attorney Ed Gilmartin says a change in the voting procedure under the Railway Labor Act is long overdue. "Elections under RLA should be run like all other union elections, where the people who participate dictate the outcome," he said. -- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C. .