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American Airlines’ union election temporarily blocked

Judge scheduled hearing for June 21

A federal judge threw a bit of a setback into American Airlines (AA) passenger service agents’ plan to vote on joining a union.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means temporarily stopped the election, saying that AA was likely to win the lawsuit it had filed last month seeking to stop the election, which was scheduled to begin June 21 and run through Aug. 2.

The Communications Workers of America, a union that represents workers in various communications professions, is seeking to represent AA’s 10,000 service agents and filed an application for the election in December 2011. At the time, the threshold for support from agents was only 35 percent, but after the first of the year, it was raised to 50 percent. The National Mediation Board (NMB) had ruled the election could move forward, and AA, which is currently in bankruptcy, filed suit.

In her ruling, Means said AA was likely to win that suit, citing criteria used by NMB to permit the vote. He also set a hearing for June 21.

"It's a terrible decision for workers," union spokeswoman Candice Johnson told the Associated Press. "It's workers who are suffering irreparable harm by being denied their democratic right to vote."

The June 21 hearing will determine whether the NMB exceeded its authority when it ruled that the election could proceed.

Contributing Author

Cathleen Flahardy

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