Bil Browning

Why Is HRC Advertising for American Airlines As Other Groups Condemn the Company?

Filed By Bil Browning | November 19, 2012 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: American Airlines, corporate sponsorship, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, Pride At Work, union representation

One day after several leaders from LGBT orgs met to talk about American Airlines anti-union activities and how its been affecting their LGBT employees, the Human Rights Campaign sent out an email urging their supporters to purchase airline tickets from the company.

While American scored a 100% on HRC's latest Corporate Equality Index, they're not earning high marks with labor and human rights american-airlines.jpeggroups over the company's flouting of labor laws and disregard for longtime employee's work security. The company is also a large financial sponsor for many LGBT orgs and is listed as a "platinum partner" on the HRC website.

The company is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings. Before American filed for the court's protections, however, customer service agents filed the correct paperwork to vote on whether or not to join the Communications Workers of America. American has done everything possible to keep the employees from unionizing - including ignoring directions to hold the election by the Department of Justice and the National Mediation Board.

Employees are seeking protections as the organization reorganizes. If American continues to prevent the election, the service agents will have no say as the company imposes layoffs, closures and wage cuts. Many LGBT employees are involved in the organizing process.

While American has a company wide non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, many LGBT employees are seeking the protections of a union contract. Most customer service agents are located in states without protections for LGBT employees and they have to rely solely on the company's human resources department for recourse.

A union contract would provide legally binding employment protections as well as domestic partner benefits. It would also prevent American from doing as many other cash strapped companies are doing and outsourcing their call center work to a company without protections for LGBT employees.

As American continues to punish LGBT employees who advocated for union representation by laying them off and spending millions of dollars to fight the election, they're also continuing their deliberate marketing to LGBT people and large donations to LGBT organizations. The airline has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to queer groups to gain unprecedented positive publicity in the LGBT community - including direct marketing through groups like HRC.

A request to know how much money American Airlines has donated to the Human Rights Campaign was not answered. HRC's American Airlines e-mail advertisement is after the break along with the Pride At Work e-blast that was sent less than 24 hours before the HRC promotion.

HRC Advertisement for American Airlines

As you're making holiday travel plans, be sure to consider American Airlines, the longtime official airline of HRC and a Platinum National Corporate Partner. When booking your flight, be sure to enter the HRC Business ExtrAA number in addition to your personal AAdvantage number - so that you and HRC both get valuable credit for the flight. The HRC Business ExtrAA number is 527567. And please support all HRC National Corporate Partners this holiday season and throughout the year!

Pride At Work E-blast

Dear Bil,

URGENT! Workers at American Airlines need your help. There is have a union election scheduled to begin December 4th, and management is trying to block the vote from going forward.

Please read below to learn more about their struggle then email American Airlines to demand that the company let the workers vote on whether or not they want to form a union.

Until now, American Airlines has had a respectable record as a corporate citizen in regards to LGBT issues. American also has a long track record of sponsoring LGBT community events, and the already-unionized workers at American Airlines have won LGBT-inclusive union contracts. Unfortunately In the past year under their new Management team, they have been taking increasing actions against their workers contrary to the reputation they have tried to project.

Since last December, the approximately 10,000 passenger service agents (gate agents at airports, reservation agents and customer relations employees for example) have been fighting to join a union as well. Since the company went in to bankruptcy they are the one work group without the ability to try and negotiate bankruptcy work rules, wages and benefits. They are facing the devastation of a lifetime of service to the company without the ability to try and salvage some of their careers.

Counter to their record as a responsible company, American Airlines has been aggressively fighting and seeking to block the workers from exercising their legal right to simply have an election to determine for themselves if they wish to join a union.

After a year of struggle, the National Mediation Board is moving forward in conducting an election for these workers to begin December 4th. While this is a tremendous victory, American has notified the workers they are seeking an injunction to block the election yet again.

Please email American Airlines to demand that the company let the workers vote on whether or not they want to form a union.

American Airlines workers in states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina have no state or federal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and no statutes ensuring relationship-recognition or the ability to access benefits for their families. For workers like these, having a union contract is a vital way - and the only way in the short-term - to win the legally enforceable protections and support they need on the job.

Because of the longstanding relationship between LGBT nonprofits and American Airlines, and the clear value that American Airlines claims to place on a positive and public relationship with organizations working for LGBT equality, we are asking for your help.

Please email American Airlines to demand that the company let the workers vote on whether or not they want to form a union.

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