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Airline workers reject union representation

Wed., Jan. 16, 2013, midnight

DALLAS – Customer-service agents at American Airlines narrowly rejected a union’s bid to represent them in collective bargaining with the company.

The airport and reservations-center agents voted against representation by the Communications Workers of America by 3,052 to 2,902, or 51 percent to 49 percent. About 76 percent of eligible workers voted, according to results released Tuesday.

“We’re pleased that our reservations, customer service and premium services employees voted to remain independent,” said American Airlines spokeswoman Missy Cousino.

The union said it lost votes because American cut about 2,000 agent jobs after filing for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. Spokeswoman Candice Johnson said departing workers had to give up job-recall rights to get severance payments, which made them ineligible to vote. “Those were union votes,” she said.

American acknowledged that about 900 agents who took early-out bonuses gave up their recall rights, and those who left before the election couldn’t vote. The airline countered, however, that it wanted about 800 people hired after the union filed its election petition to vote, but it lost a ruling on the issue from the National Mediation Board, which oversees union-representation elections.

The agents are the largest bloc of nonunion workers at American. The airline’s pilots, flight attendants and ground workers are represented by other unions.

Chipotle chain offering catering service

DENVER – Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is adding catering service.

The Denver-based chain said its catering service will be available in Colorado starting Monday and will roll out to all of its markets in coming months.

Chipotle already has been selling mix-and-match “burritos by the box” for smaller catering orders. But the catering service is designed to feed 20 to 200 people, with each person able to customize their meals, much as they would at a Chipotle restaurant.

ConocoPhillips sells property to Denbury

HOUSTON – ConocoPhillips is selling some properties in North Dakota and Montana to a subsidiary of Denbury Resources Inc. for $1.05 billion.

The oil and natural gas company said Tuesday that the Cedar Creek Anticline properties span about 86,000 net acres in southwestern North Dakota and eastern Montana. Net production from the properties averaged 13,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day through November.

Paper clips

• Anglo American Platinum, the world’s largest platinum producer, said it will close some South African mines and sell another, cutting 14,000 jobs.

• A British court has rejected for good brewery Anheuser-Busch’s request to block rival Budvar from selling its beer under the Budweiser trademark in the country.

• Chinese Internet users rose 10 percent last year to 564 million, driven by explosive growth in the popularity of mobile Web surfing.

• The worst of Europe’s debt crisis is probably over and odds are that no country will drop out of the euro. That, at least, is the view of credit rating agency Fitch. It said the eurozone is showing signs of improvement in economic competitiveness, while the impact of austerity measures on the economy may also have passed its peak, even in Greece.


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