* NMB ruling clears the way for union election
* IAM and AFA vying to represent flight attendants
* Shares up 7 cents at $23.06
CHICAGO, April 1 The U.S. agency that mediates
labor disputes set the stage on Friday for an election to
determine which union will represent the more than 20,000
flight attendants at the newly merged United Continental
Holdings (UAL.N), the unions said.
The National Mediation Board determined that United
Continental, formed last year from a merger of United Airlines
and Continental Airlines, has created a single transportation
system for the purposes of negotiating with flight attendants.
The decision starts the clock for the NMB to set an
election date for union representation. The NMB will set the
date within two weeks.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers, which represents more than 8,000 Continental flight
attendants, and the Association of Flight Attendants, which
represents about 13,000 United flight attendants, are vying to
be the union for the merging worker forces.
United Continental still operates as two separate carriers
and will do so until it receives a single operating certificate
from the government. But the airline is already integrating its
Shares of United Continental were up 7 cents at $23.06 on
the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Kyle Peterson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)