We'll begin with some good news. In mid-February, 7,600 baggage handlers and ramp workers for Continental Airlines -- painfully aware that they were the lowest-paid handlers in the industry and that their four previous attempts to unionize had all fallen short -- finally voted to join a union. This was a more arduous achievement than it may sound. Under the byzantine provisions of the Railway Labor Act, which governs labor relations in the airline industry as well, workers seeking a union need to win a majority not just of those employees who vote but of all the employees in their unit. Worse yet, their unit is defined as everyone in their job category within the United States: The more than 2,000 Continental ramp workers employed at the airline's Houston hub, for instance, could not vote to join the union on their own.