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American Airlines Agents Praise NMB Decision to Move Forward on Union Election

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Washington, D.C. – The Communications Workers of America and passenger service agents at American Airlines are applauding the decision by the National Mediation Board to move forward on the union representation election for nearly 10,000 agents.

The notice of election and sample instructions will be sent to the company on June 14, 2012 to post at each location. Telephone electronic voting and Internet voting instructions will be mailed to employees on June 21; the voting period will run from June 21 through Aug. 2, 2012. Votes will be tallied at 2 pm, EDT, Aug. 2 at the NMB’s office.

In its order, the NMB said the agency’s longstanding policy and the intent of the Railway Labor Act is to resolve representation disputes “as expeditiously as possible,” and also noted that as a result of American Airlines’ lawsuit, “the case has already been delayed for four weeks.” The NMB reaffirmed past decisions that found that “the mere filing of a motion to stay an election does not halt the Board’s proceedings.”

Last month, agents and CWA supporters delivered labels containing the names and mailing addresses of nearly all eligible passenger service agents to the NMB, countering American Airlines’ refusal to turn over the mailing label list so the election announced by the NMB earlier this year could proceed. The CWA list coincides with the eligibility list submitted by American Airlines to the NMB on Dec. 7, 2011, when CWA filed for a representation election, and the NMB’s later determination of eligible voters.

American Airlines has been 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. The airline repeatedly refused to turn over the list of agents, violating a direct order from the National Mediation Board. The latest outrage was a lawsuit filed by the company on May 2, in which American Airlines is seeking to substitute its own judgment for that of Congress, so it can stop passenger service agents from having a union voice.

Leading members of the House and Senate, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Ranking Committee Members George Miller and Nick Rahall, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Committee Chairmen John D. Rockefeller and Tom Harkin, and members of the Illinois delegation all have called on American Airlines CEO Thomas Horton to obey the law and stop blocking workers’ right to vote in a democratic union election.

American Airlines filed for bankruptcy with $4 billion in the bank and is using the bankruptcy process to devastate the jobs of agents and other workers. The company has announced the outsourcing of services to occur within 45 days, and workers very much want their union representation election before their jobs are gone, CWA said. ###

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