American Strike?

Dallas, TX – Feds tell American Airlines, unions keep talking

DALLAS (AP) Federal officials have dealt labor unions at American Airlines a setback by refusing to start a 30-day countdown toward possible strikes.

The National Mediation Board told the company and two unions they should continue to bargain over new contracts while the board considers the unions' requests to declare a stalemate in negotiations.

The unions have been negotiating to update contracts that came up for renewal in 2008, and they are making pay demands opposed by American.

But federal law makes it hard for airline workers to strike. Even if the mediation board gives unions the go-ahead, the president can still block a strike.

Shares of American's parent AMR Corp. are up 31 cents, or 3.5 percent, at $9.06 in afternoon trading.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.