American Airlines agents narrowly reject union bid

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm •  Published: January 15, 2013
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DALLAS (AP) — Customer-service agents at American Airlines narrowly rejected a union's bid to represent them in collective bargaining with the company.

The airport and reservations-center agents voted against representation by the Communications Workers of America by 3,052 to 2,902, or 51 percent to 49 percent. About 76 percent of eligible workers voted, according to results released Tuesday.

"We're pleased that our reservations, customer service and premium services employees voted to remain independent," said American Airlines spokeswoman Missy Cousino.

The union said it lost votes because American cut about 2,000 agent jobs after filing for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. Spokeswoman Candice Johnson said departing workers had to give up job-recall rights to get severance payments, which made them ineligible to vote. "Those were union votes," she said.

American acknowledged that about 900 agents who took early-out bonuses gave up their recall rights, and those who left before the election couldn't vote. The airline countered, however, that it wanted about 800 people hired after the union filed its election petition to vote, but it lost a ruling on the issue from the National Mediation Board, which oversees union-representation elections.

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