Feds set date for American agents to start voting on union | American Airlines bankruptcy …

Posted: November 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

FORT WORTH — Federal officials set a December date for passenger service agents at American Airlines to begin voting on union representation, but the Fort Worth-based carrier says it will now go to the U.S. Supreme Court to delay the vote yet again.

The National Mediation Board announced Thursday it will hold the union representation vote from Dec. 4 through Jan. 15.

The vote will be conducted through telephone and Internet voting, the NMB said. The Communications Workers of America is attempting to organize American’s 9,700 passenger service agents.

The election has already been delayed several times since it was originally scheduled for May 17 as American challenged the NMB’s decisions in court.

In its lawsuit, American has claimed the Communications Workers of America did not collect authorization cards from 50 percent of workers, as required by a new law enacted in February. The NMB argued that the previous 35 percent standard should be used since the application for an election had been filed in December.

“… American intends to ask the courts for a stay, while we ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case,” said Bruce Hicks, a carrier spokesman. “We are working to protect the rights of our employees, a significant majority of whom did not support a union election,” .

Earlier this week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected American’s request to rehear its case against the NMB. American had won its case in a lower court but the board appealed the ruling. The Fifth Circuit panel ruled on Oct. 3 that the lower court judge did not have the jurisdiction to rule on the lawsuit and ordered the lower court to throw out the case.

Janet Elston, a passenger service agent at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, called the vote a “great victory, but we still have a lot of work to do.” She added, “We need to get our folks voting, and voting yes.”

American has not yet filed its appeal with the Supreme Court. The carrier said it intends to comply with the NMB request for mailing labels for eligible voters for the passenger service election.

Separately, American officially froze its pensions on Thursday, a move it had announced in the spring.

Josh Gotbaum, executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., said the freeze is a “mixed result” for American’s workers.

“We, of course, are pleased that they will get to keep the pension benefits they have already earned, but it is unfortunate that going forward their retirement benefits will not provide the same level of security as a traditional pension,” Gotbaum said.

via Feds set date for American agents to start voting on union | American Airlines bankruptcy ….

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