A top official at the union representing American Airlines ground workers has been put on leave after recent comments about the potential impact of high fuel prices on contract negotiations.
John Conley, air-transport division director for the Transport Workers Union, was placed on administrative leave Tuesday by James Little, the union's international president. Union spokesman Tim McAninley said the labor group had no comment on the reasons behind Conley's suspension.
But several union officials said the action followed comments Conley made at an aviation conference in Phoenix last week where he an unprecedented spike in oil prices could present challenges at the negotiating table as the union tries to craft a new contract with American. He said the environment "could be an opportunity to consider not being as intractable as folks have been in the past." Jet-fuel prices reached $3.40 per gallon this week, according to the Energy Information Administration. That's up nearly 70 percent from a year earlier.
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