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June 22, 2012

Judge rules for American, blocks union representation vote for passenger service agents

A federal judge in Fort Worth ruled in favor of American Airlines on Friday, blocking a union election representation vote for the carrier's passenger service agents.

In its lawsuit, American alleged that the union did not collect authorization cards from 50 percent of workers, as required by a law enacted in February.

The National Mediation Board argued that the previous standard, 35 percent, should be used since the union filed the election application in December.

The Communication Workers of America is trying to organize American's 9,700 customer service and gate agents and originally the NMB had planned to hold the vote from June 21 to August 2.

Judge Terry Means agreed with American and in his ruling said the election could go forward if the NMB determines that the union was able to collect authorization cards from 50 percent of the workers.

"Because the Board misapplied the plain text of Section 2, Twelfth, of the 2012 Act, and thereby acted in excess of its delegated authority, the Court has jurisdiction to hear American’s challenge to those actions," Means wrote in the six-page ruling. "Moreover, to give proper effect to the Court’s declaration that the 2012 Act prohibits the Board from ordering an election absent a fifty-percent showing of interest, the Court concludes that a permanent injunction is necessary."

The CWA said it plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

"American Airlines and the court continue to willfully misrepresent federal aviation law," the union said. "In correspondence with American Airlines CEO Thomas Horton, Senators Reid, Rockefeller and Harkin made clear that retroactivity did not apply, and addressed this specific petition in their discussion on the Senate floor. Judge Means is ignoring these statements, but he cannot change the facts."

American said it was pleased with the judge’s decision and reiterated that the union has admitted it can’t meet the 50 percent standard.

"As always, American respects the National Mediation Board’s committement to upholding the law and our employee’s right to free choice on issues of unionization," said spokesman Bruce Hicks.

-Andrea Ahles


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Why is this such a huge issue for the CWA? Just start the process over and get 50% of the agents to sign off on the thing and then vote again.

David Barnes

The CWA states that "retroactivity did not apply." As another commenter pointed out, does this mean that if the election were held and the CWA won the right to represent this group, would their representation begin only at that point and hold no bearing on past bankruptcy proceedings? The union can't have it both ways, but it is certainly hell bent on trying. Glad justice prevailed in this case.


Greed is deadly

May God take over managements lack of love.


AA is in business to make money, not a charity. If you don't like your job, boss, etc, than get another job! No one is forcing you to work where ever that you do!


As a union-represented AA employee, I'd like to assure our agents that they are better off without one.

APFA has done more harm than good during this bankruptcy, as far as I'm concerned. I doubt CWA would be any better.

Harry Mudd

Leting employees vote is a bad idea, the Judge was correct in his ruling.

Democracy is so last year.

forlorn hope

It's clear that retroactivity means nothing to bought and paid for justices. These are the same government and powerful business interests who committed genocide against the American Indians in 19th century America in order to advance their agendas of greed. Do whatever is necessary to advance the self interests of powerful elitists in government and business and screw the working men and women who bring the revenue to the elitists every single day in order to keep their money producing machines, and their places in positions of power, humming.

forlorn hope

The Star telegram wonders why they
lose readership. Any newspaper that deletes posts simply because they don't agree with the views of the writer shouldn't remain in business.


I've had posts not show up before. It's the crappy commenting system, though I realize that is much more mundane than yelling about censorship.

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