Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia denied American Airlines' request to delay the passenger service union representation election, union organizers said on Tuesday.
American had asked the court to halt the election while the Fort Worth-based carrier appealed its case.
The airline has argued that 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 National Mediation Board, which oversees union representation elections, argued that the previous 35 percent standard should be used since the application for an election had been filed in December 2011.
"Attorneys for American Airlines are expected to appeal to the full Supreme Court, but they will need to get four of the nine justices to agree to hear the case, which is unlikely. Scalia is regarded as one of the most business-friendly justices. Even if the court decides to hear the case, it wouldn’t occur until some time in January, probably after our election has been held," the CWA organizers told passenger service agents on its website.
The CWA is attempting to organize 9,700 passenger service agents at American.
"It's been just about one year since agents filed for this election, and many agents have seen their jobs outsourced, wages and benefits cut over that period. Agents want their union and today's decision brings that union another step closer," CWA spokeswoman Candice Johnson said.
UPDATE: Here is the statement from American Airlines spokesman Bruce Hicks. "We believe pursuing this case on behalf of the majority of American’s agents and representatives who did not seek or authorize a union election was the right approach. With the election now going forward, we urge all of our agents and representatives to vote."