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In ‘Travesty of Justice,’ Judge Blocks American Airlines Workers’ Union Election

A federal judge’s ruling permanently blocking 10,000 passenger service agents at American Airlines from voting on joining a union is a “disgrace and a travesty of justice,” says the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

The judge based his ruling on a provision of the recently enacted Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that changed the threshold of authorization cards needed before union elections can be held at airlines and other industries covered by the Railway Labor Act.

Workers at American Airlines were organizing long before the bill was passed and the National Mediation Board (NMB) authorized an election that American’s stalling tactics delayed.   

Nothing in the bill says the new threshold applies retroactively, and the authors of the FAA reauthorization have stated repeatedly they did not intend for the new threshold to be applied retroactively.

In a blog post yesterday, Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), wrote:

American has had a plan all along and now they’re exploiting our federal courts to advance that plan. They just want to run out the clock. For months American has defied an order by the NMB, which oversees these union representation matters, to hold an election. The company even refused to hand over an employee list in order for the election to proceed. When the NMB said it would go forward with the election using an employee list provided by CWA, American sued and managed to enjoin the election.

CWA Organizing Director Sandy Rusher says:  

Here in America, we're taught to respect democracy and our right to vote. Sadly, the court's decision today is an attack on the rights of these average Americans, agents who just want the opportunity to participate in a democratic election.

CWA will appeal the ruling.

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