May 3, 2012
Washington, D.C. -- Following is a statement by Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, on the continued effort by American Airlines to stop workers’ from having a fair vote on union representation:
“Just when working people thought they’d seen it all, American Airlines makes an even more outrageous play. The latest outrage is a lawsuit the company filed May 2, in which American Airlines seeks to rewrite aviation legislation and substitute its own agenda for that of Congress, so it can stop nearly 10,000 passenger service agents from having a union voice.
The airline may have filed for bankruptcy protection, but there’s no doubt that AMR is a leading member of the 1 percent.
Here’s what agents themselves say about their company’s tactics:
"When I read that American was not going to hand over the voter list and was suing to prevent our right to vote on representation, I did not believe it. I had to re-read the article 3 times before it sunk in that American was going to blatantly violate federal law to stop our election. I am still in shock. I can't believe it," said Cherie Isik, a Sacramento based agent.
"It is terrible. This is so important to the employees. Having a union is our only way of getting a fair shake, and all American wants to do is block it," said Jonathan Knights, an agent based in Las Vegas.
“American Airlines is doing everything it can think of, legal and not, to stop nearly 10,000 agents from exercising their legal right to a union representation vote. Working people have a right to stand together, but not in American Airlines’ world.
The airline already has refused to turn over the list of agents who are eligible to vote, violating a direct order from the National Mediation Board. Can anyone be surprised that the 99 percent, who are fighting back against corporate greed at shareholder meetings this spring, are disgusted by the actions of American Airlines, the 1 percent that only wants to attack workers’ rights, cut wages and benefits and eliminate jobs.
The jobs of executives or union-busting lawyers aren’t at risk, however. Even in bankruptcy, American Airlines is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for the sole purpose of stopping workers who want union representation.
CWA is calling on the Department of Justice to require American Airlines to obey the law by turning over the list of eligible agents so that the lawful representation election can go forward.