The CWA News | Passenger Service Agents at American, US Airways

Volume 74, Issue #3 | Fall 2014

Passenger Service Agents at American, US Airways

VOTE BIG for CWA Representation

Passenger Service Agents at American, US Airways Vote Big for CWA Representation - CWA News Fall 2014
Agents celebrate their CWA voice at the National Mediation Board in Washington, D.C.

In the biggest organizing victory in the South in decades, 9,000 American Airlines passenger service agents joined with their nearly 6,000 US Airways colleagues and overwhelmingly voted for a voice at the merged airline.

By an 86 percent vote—9,640 for, 1,547 against—airport and reservations agents said yes to union representation.

Three-quarters of the American agents work in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona and 2,300 are home-based reservations agents.

CWA President Larry Cohen said the vote showed that workers who can make a fair choice about union representation want bargaining rights. “When it is left to the employees, they would rather have a voice,” he said.

Agents celberate thier Vote for CWA Representation - CWA News Fall 2014
At Miami International Airport agents give a thumbs up for CWA representation.

Richard Shaughnessy has been an agent at Miami International Airport for 27 years and has been a leader of the American agents’ fight for a voice and bargaining rights. “The merger between American Airlines and US Airways is an exciting time for all of us. But even more exciting is our victory today,” he said. “We’re the front line employees who interact with our customers every day, and we are looking forward to a positive relationship with management to make this merger ‘work’ for all of us. We are anxious to get to the bargaining table.”

Carroll Locklear is a home based reservations agent in Texas. “I’ve been with American Airlines for 18 years and through all of those years I have been praying for this day. We have been the odd employees out for so long, because we were the only employees without union representation. Gone are the days that management can take what they want when they want. This will be a win-win for all of us.”

“We feel stronger now with this vote,” Eula Smith, a customer service agent in Charlotte, said. “I’m a 60-year-old woman with 42 years with this employer. You can’t live in the South and make a decent wage unless you are in senior management in a corporation or belong to a union. We need this. We need not just a union, we need CWA.”

Ken Grunwald is a 23-year-reservations agent, working at the call center in North Carolina. “I’m proud to remember everyone over the years who worked so hard for our union voice, who never gave up in the face of adversity, and who gave their blood, sweat and tears so that we would have the opportunity to celebrate this victory today. It’s a victory for all American Airlines employees! I’m so excited to think that we will finally be able to negotiate a legally binding contract. We now all have each other’s back,” he said.

Vickey Hoots has been a US Airways reservations agent at the Winston-Salem N.C., cell center for 29 years. “This win was a long time in coming, at American Airlines just as it was at US Airways. I’m so proud of all our members and we’re excited that we will be able to negotiate the industry leading contract that our members deserve,” she said.

Janet Elston, an agent at Dallas-Fort Worth International International Airport, says, “19 years ago, a handful of agents started a drive to obtain representation for AA airport and reservations agents. Many hundreds of activists have spent thousands of hours over the years to get us to today’s election result. They never wavered and never, ever gave up. We have finally achieved what most thought was impossible: union representation for our work group. Now we’ll begin a new working relationship with our company, with a legally binding contract.”