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American Sues National Mediation Board

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - More labor problems are facing bankrupt American Airlines.

The carrier, which is based in Fort Worth, is now suing the National Mediation Board.

The lawsuit claims the Board is ignoring its own mandate and is allowing a vote to go forward that would unionize the airline’s passenger service employees.

Right now, those nearly 10,000 workers are not represented by a union.

In an email, American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith told CBS 11 News that passenger service employees work inside the airport. They do things like help passengers get through the check-in process, find their connections and get their luggage off the carousels.

Other workers that would be included in the union vote are airport and cargo agents, those passenger service employees who help the airline’s premuim travelers, and ticket agents at American’s call centers.

The airline claims that the Board’s rule is that at least 50 percent of the affected employees sign an application stating they want to become unionized.

American claims in its lawsuit that is not the case here.

Last December, the Communications Workers of America filed the application requesting the Board to look into whether the union could be certified to represent American’s passenger service employees.

The CWA currently represents passenger service employees at some airlines, including American suitor US Airways. At other airlines, they are members of different unions.

The National Mediation Board has three members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Its role is to promote good labor relations in the airline and rail industries.

American filed suit Wednesday in federal court in Fort Worth.

The carrier wants a judge to overturn the Board’s decision to allow the election and is asking for attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Click here to read American’s lawsuit against the National Mediation Board (PDF format).

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