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Tatler exclusive: Union that's pushing card check, fearing election defeat, suddenly all about 'free and fair elections'

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America (AFA-CWA) are locked in an election among United Airlines' 20,000 to 25,000 flight attendants. The election will determine which union will represent United's and Continental's flight attendants. With the dues and support of as many as 25,000 workers on the line and one of the nation's largest air carriers in the mix, this is an important election. Voting is underway and ends June 29.

Apparently it's so important that, according to a letter we have exclusively obtained, the IAM is frantically pestering the AFA-CWA to stop "intimidating" the workers who are voting in the election. Yes, you read that right -- a union that is affiliated with the AFL-CIO wants another union to stop intimidating people. Keep reading, because it gets even better than that.

The letter, dated May 19, 2011, and addressed from the IAM's general vice president, Robert Roach, Jr.,  to Veda Shoock, president of the AFA-CWA, reads in part:

AFA-CWA has instructed Flight Attendants to call a phone number "to register your vote with AFA," after they have voted in the United/Continental/Continental Micronesia representation election. How a Flight Attendant votes is a personal choice, and directing someone to reveal how they voted is a flagrant form of intimidation. Flight Attendants have already begun to register such complaints to the NMB.

Farther down in the letter, Roach writes (without a trace of self-reflection or awareness):