The third time's the charm for the Communications Workers of America as the union has won a vote to represent American Airlines' customer service and gate agents.
The union said it won 86 percent of the vote to represent 14,500 passenger service agents at the carrier. About 2,300 are home-based customer service agents while the remaining three-quarters of the employees work in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona."We're the front line employees who interact with our customers every day, and we are looking forward to a positive relationship with management to make this merger 'work' for all of us," said Richard Shaughnessy, a Miami gate agent, in a union press release. An official vote total was not released on Tuesday but sources say of the 13,962 eligible voters, 11,187 cast votes in the election. There were 9,609 votes in favor while 1,547 were cast against. There were 31 write-in votes.
Passenger service agents at US Airways are represented by the CWA but American agents are not currently unionized. The CWA previously tried to organize American's agents but lost a representation vote by fewer than 150 votes out of 6,000 cast in 2013. A similar effort in 1998 by the CWA also failed.
Since the workers choose the CWA for representation, American will begin contract talks with the union later this fall.
"With today’s election results, union representation for our three largest workgroups is now settled, and we will be working with each of those unions on joint collective bargaining agreements covering the combined employee groups," said American spokesman Paul Flaningan. "We have enjoyed a productive relationship with the CWA-IBT as well as our other unions and look forward to continuing our work together."