October 13, 2014

Largest unionization of the year

Labor Notes - After many close votes against unionization, American Airlines passenger service agents scored an overwhelming victory September 16, voting 86 percent to unionize. The win covers 14,500 workers, the largest union-representation vote in the U.S. this year.

The election was a result of the merger between American and US Airways, which created the largest airline in the world. Over half of the new union members are in the South, with large groups in Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

... The 9,000 American agents had tried to unionize several times, losing their 2013 election by a heartbreaking 150 votes.

This time, the company was largely neutral under its new CEO, former US Airways head Doug Parker.

In the 2013 campaign, “the company spent $3-4 million going through union-busting tactics,” said Wendell Johnson, a 14-year American passenger service worker. “They set up a website ‘AA Independent’ that came up on the computer for all the employees to see.” Managers and supervisors spoke against the union.

This time around, managers didn’t get involved, said Johnson, who works at New York’s Kennedy airport.

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