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Momentum Builds Against American Airlines' Un-American Scheme to Subvert U.S. Labor Law

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CWA Gears Up Opposition to American Airlines' Scheme to Delay Workers' Vote

Washington, D.C. — The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is gearing up its efforts to document how American Airlines is denying its employees their legal right to vote for union representation.

This week, CWA launches a new advertising effort, featuring online and print ads in Beltway and progressive publications, highlighting American Airlines' "Un-American" and undemocratic attempt to squash their employees' right to vote. For example, a full page print ad to run in POLITICO on Wednesday reads, "It's the most fundamental American right there is — the right to vote. But American Airlines is doing everything they can — both legal and not — to block 10,000 passenger service agents from voting to form a union."

"As the nation's attention remains focused on the Wisconsin recall election of Gov. Scott Walker and several state senators, American Airlines is providing another audacious example of how workers' rights and basic democratic principles are under siege," said CWA Communications Director Candice Johnson.

  • American Airlines' Refuses to Abide By U.S. Labor Law: At issue is the fact that 10,000 passenger service agents at American Airlines are being denied the right to vote in a democratic, union representation election that the National Mediation Board (NMB) ordered to begin on May 17. Last December, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), on behalf of agents, petitioned the NMB to set the election date. American Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy with $4 billion in the bank, has been doing everything it can — both legal and not — to block agents' right to a union representation vote.
  • Democratic Leaders Join Criticism of American Airlines: As media outlets such as Bloomberg and The Hill have highlighted, leading Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, leading Committee Chairman John Rockefeller and Tom Harkin, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Democratic Ranking Committee Members George Miller and Nick Rahall are weighing in. In separate letters in May, these Democratic leaders urged American Airlines to "to comply with the law and respect American workers' right to vote in an election they requested." In fact, Leader Reid and Senators Rockefeller and Harkin made clear that American Airlines' argument over the applicability of the FAA Reauthorization was baseless.
  • American Airlines' Attempts to Justify Undemocratic Actions By Claiming FAA Legislation Should Apply Retroactively: The FAA bill that passed in February 2012 included a provision that increased the threshold for holding a union election to 50% of employees showing interest in conducting a union election, an increase from the previously established 35% threshold for triggering an election. Now, American Airlines is claiming that the new, higher threshold should be applied retroactively, as customer service agents employed by American filed for the election Dec. 7, 2011 with above necessary 35% showing of interest. American Airlines is going so far as to defy the NMB by withholding address labels for a lawful representation election and filing a nuisance lawsuit against the agency, while continuing efforts to delay the election.

For Immediate Release: June 6, 2012
Contact: Candice Johnson or Chuck Porcari 202-434-1168 and

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CWA Communications