It is hard to organize a single factory, now just imagine trying to organize more than 10,000 workers spread out over hundreds of airports across the country. This is what the Communication Workers of America have been doing. They have been working for the past year to organize the service agents at American Airlines.
If you are unfamiliar with the struggles between CWA and American Airlines the problem stems from a change to the law with the passage of FAA Reauthorization in Feb, 2012. The law now states they you must provide proof of 50% or more showing interest in the having representation from a union. This was a change from 35% that is has been in the past. Even though CWA and the AA Service Agents filed for the election in December, “American Airlines claims that the new, higher threshold should be applied retroactively, despite the statements by the Senate authors of those provisions that the 50% threshold absolutely does not apply to the American Airlines election.”
Recently CWA released an update to their followers talking about some of the numbers effecting this battle. Here are a couple that I found interesting.
10,000: American Airlines has been doing everything it can think of, legal and not, to stop nearly 10,000 passenger service agents from exercising their legal right to a union representation vote.
$27,000: The average salary of an American Airlines’ home-based, full-time reservation agent. American is trying to shift many of its reservation agents to this category.
$4,182,800: The 2011 total compensation awarded to Tom Horton, President and CEO of AMR and American Airlines.
155: The number of full-time reservations agents, with average salaries ($27,000) pooled together, it would take to match the 2011 compensation of CEO Horton.
$1.175 million: The amount American Airlines has spent on the law firm fighting the National Mediation Board (NMB) against agents’ democratic right to vote (total since September 2011).
So as you can see numbers do not lie. American Airlines says they are going bankrupt due to high labor costs and yet they have over 5 billion in the bank. They continue to pay their CEO over $4 million dollars a year while they are refusing to increase workers wages. They have used over $1.1 million dollars in 8 months in legal costs just to keep the union out. Millions of dollars because the AA Board is worried these changes will effect their bottom line. This is just one more example of the greedy corporations fighting to keep their workers down. Its ok, I am sure that Tom Horton, CEO of AA is worth deserves than $2000 an hour while a service agent makes $500 a week.