Agents rally outside of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.
Below: Protesting AMR's muzzling tactics, agents tape mailing labels over their mouths.
More than 100 American Airlines agents and CWA supporters today asked a federal bankruptcy court to stop AMR Corporation from implementing drastic, cost-cutting changes in pay, benefits and working conditions in advance of their union representation election.
Speaking for the Ad Hoc Committee for Passenger Service Agents, which called on US Bankruptcy Court Judge Sean Lane to issue an injunction, employees spoke out against the company's anti-worker tactics. The agents, who filed for a representation election last December, are the only major workgroup at AMR without union representation.
"I have been stunned at how low this company, that I have worked so hard for, and for many years trusted, will go to keep us from having that voice," said Rosemary Capasso, a American Airlines agent and chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Passenger Service Agents, at a press conference. "Even while in bankruptcy — while they're kicking long-time employees to the curb, outsourcing jobs, taking away retirement security, telling us we have to work harder for significantly less money — they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on union busters and attorneys to squash our effort to have a representation election."
The National Mediation Board has called for a union representation election for the nearly 10,000 passenger service agents to be held from May 17 to June 19. Sample ballots are scheduled to be mailed out on May 10. In demonstrating that they want representation, agents should fall under Section 1113 of the bankruptcy code, just as the unionized workers do, said Ed Gilmartin, general counsel for AFA-CWA.
However, for weeks, AMR has refused to turn over the list of names of agents who are eligible to vote in the election, so that the NMB has been unable to mail out voting instructions. Refusing to comply with the NMB's directive, AMR has, in fact, sued the agency to block the workers' representation election from going forward.
Protesting these muzzling efforts, some agents wore mailing labels over their mouths during the bankruptcy court proceedings.
CWA filed for an election last December 7; American Airlines wants to substitute its own agenda for congressional action and has filed a lawsuit based on an empty legal claim.
Send a message to NMB General Counsel Mary Johnson asking her to stand up to AMR and ensure the election moves forward at http://go.cwa.net/aalines-action.