American loses ruling on union election; negotiations resume



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WFAA & Associated Press

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 3 at 3:31 PM

DALLAS (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned a judge's ruling that had blocked a union election among nearly 10,000 employees at American Airlines.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled Wednesday that the lower court should have left alone a federal panel's decision to order an election by American's passenger-service agents.

The ruling is a victory for the Communications Workers of America, which wants to represent the nonunion workers, and the National Mediation Board, which ordered the election.

American sued the mediation board. It argued that the union didn't gather enough signed cards from employees to qualify for an election under new rules approved by Congress.

Meanwhile, American Airlines and the pilots' union resumed negotiations on a new contract Wednesday afternoon. The two sides have been working to hammer out a deal for the union's pilots, who have been without a contract as the company tries to get out of bankruptcy.

The exact location of the meeting has not been revealed.

"I would say probably a mood of anticipation that perhaps this will be the one that gets us finally to an industry standard contract with American Airlines," said Craig Thorson, an Allied Pilots Association spokesman.

A spokesman with American said the airline is looking forward to returning to the negotiating table and working out a consensual agreement.