Thursday, June 14, 2012

AMR gets TRO in suit to stop NMB scheduled union election

AMR Corp.'s American Airlines (AA) sued the National Mediation Board (NMB) to block it from holding a union election. The airline claimed under a new federal law that the union needs support from at least half of its ten thousand agents before holding an election among the largest group of nonunion workers at AA. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Means found that AA was likely to prevail a lawsuit seeking to stop the election among passenger-service agents, and granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) on voting that was set to begin next week. The Communications Workers of America sought to represent AA's agents. The union had joined the case on the mediation board's side. AMR Corp. and AA sued the U.S. mediation board in federal district court because Congress raised the minimum support to fifty percent in an aviation bill signed into law in February. The mediation board sided with the union and decided this month to go ahead with an agent election. AMR Corp. and AA filed for bankruptcy protection last year and are seeking to void contracts with current unions of pilots, flight attendants and mechanics. A federal bankruptcy judge in New York is scheduled to rule on that request next week. See stories at and UPDATE 6/22/12: The court found the National Mediation Board used the wrong standard when it authorized the election. As such, the NMB “acted in excess of its delegated authority,” according to U.S. District Judge Means. The ruling comes as the airline seeks $1.25B in annual labor cost reductions as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lane postponed a ruling to next week on whether AA can scrap union contracts. See