FORT WORTH, Texas
American Airlines is suing a federal agency to block a union from holding an election to represent about 10,000 nonunion employees.
Agents who work at ticket counters and airport gates were expected to vote on whether to be represented by the Communications Workers of America.
On Wednesday American went to federal district court in Fort Worth, Texas, to stop the National Mediation Board from holding the election.
American said that a federal law passed in February requires the mediation board to determine that at least 50 percent of affected workers support an election before one can be held.
The Communications Workers argued that the law was passed after it filed in December for an election, and that it only needed 35-percent support to hold a vote.
The two sides also have fought over which employees are eligible to vote, which delayed the mediation board's authorization of an election until April 20.
American is already fighting with three other unions that represent nearly 55,000 of its 73,000 employees. American and parent AMR Corp. are operating under bankruptcy protection and have demanded about $1 billion in annual concessions from unions representing pilots, flight attendants and ground workers.
"Just when working people thought they'd seen it all, American Airlines makes an even more outrageous play," Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers, said Thursday.