North American union wins exclusive airline representation rights

March 14, 2012

An ITF-affiliated union based in the US has won the right to represent nearly 17,000 passenger service and reservations employees at a newly merged airline.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) received 8,305 votes from United Airlines workers during the seven-week election, which was conducted by the National Mediation Board (NMB); 5,865 votes were cast against representation. The NMB determined that there were 16,720 eligible voters.

The election was prompted by the merger of United, Continental and Continental Micronesia airlines. The union now represents more than 31,500 employees at the combined airline, including 14,800 ramp service and stock and stores employees that the union represented prior to the election.

“This election preserves IAM representation rights for pre-merger United employees and extends that benefit to their new co-workers from Continental and Continental Micronesia,” said IAM transportation general vice president Sito Pantoja, speaking on 7 March. “Today’s win provides all IAM members at United with the advantages of size and strength that airlines themselves are seeking through consolidation.”

“Voters had to overcome an aggressive anti-union campaign that included an attempt to have the votes of nearly 1,000 IAM supporters invalidated,” said IAM district 141 president Rich Delaney. “Despite United’s divisive tactics, we will focus our efforts on building a better airline and unite employees into a single force to face the challenges ahead.”

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