Union says it will get a vote at American Air

DALLAS (AP) — The union seeking to represent customer-service agents at American Airlines says dates for an election have been set.

The Communication Workers of America said Thursday that the National Mediation Board ordered voting from Dec. 4 through Jan. 15. The mediation board did not respond to messages seeking confirmation.

The union is seeking to organize about 9,700 employees, the largest bloc of American Airlines workers who don't already belong to a union.

American Airlines said it plans to ask to delay the election while it appeals the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The union said voting instructions will be mailed to eligible workers on Dec. 4 and telephone and Internet voting will begin the same day. It said American was ordered to give the names and addresses of the workers to the mediation board by next Tuesday.

American, part of AMR Corp., sued the mediation board earlier this year to block the election. A judge in American's hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, ruled in the airline's favor but was overturned by a federal appeals court.

The airline argued that under a law that Congress passed in February, the union needed to show support from at least 50 percent of the agents to force an election, and it will make the same argument to the Supreme Court.

"We are working to protect the rights of our employees, a significant majority of whom did not support a union election," said Bruce Hicks, a spokesman for the company. "By the union's own admission, less than half of the employee group requested an election, and we believe 50 percent is the appropriate standard for American as it is now for any other airline unionization case."

The union argued that since it requested the election before Congress acted, it needed only to gather support from 35 percent of the employees, the standard that was in place at the time.

"They will try to keep fighting us, but we have the majority of the agents on our side, agents who have had enough of being jerked around," said Sandy Rusher, the union's organizing director.