Umpire Rules CWA-AFA Violated AFL-CIO Constitution

In July, 2011, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) filed charges with the AFL-CIO alleging the IAM violated the AFL-CIO Constitution by posting the election interference charges it filed with the National Mediation Board in the United/Continental/Continental Micronesia Flight Attendant election on a website for Flight Attendants to review.   

The independent umpire assigned by the AFL-CIO found the IAM was in compliance with the AFL-CIO Constitution, stating: “an affiliate is entitled to keep its membership abreast of an ongoing dispute regarding the validity of an election.”

With regard to the communications CWA provided Flight Attendants during the election, however, the impartial umpire ruled:

  • CWA-AFA violated the AFL-CIO Constitution when it allowed distribution of bag tags that were derogatory toward the IAM;
  • CWA-AFA violated the AFL-CIO Constitution when it posted anti-IAM logos on in-flight crew room bulletin boards;
  • CWA-AFA violated the AFL-CIO Constitution when it asserted in communications that the IAM made “quick and dirty” deals with management; and
  • CWA-AFA violated the AFL-CIO Constitution when it insinuated that an IAM representative was in bed with the company because he testified at a Congressional hearing alongside company representatives – especially when “an AFA-CWA representative was at the same table and cropped out of the photo.”

Under a separate section of the AFL-CIO Constitution, the CWA also sought to force the IAM to withdraw its election protest with the NMB, claiming it had achieved final representation certification for the combined Flight Attendant group.

The independent umpire rejected CWA’s bid and stated that granting the CWA’s request would come at the cost of “depriving IAM and the very substantial number of workers who supported it of an opportunity that the law has long provided…”

The complete rulings are available below and at