Cabin pressure rises at Delta as union vote begins

Thursday, September 30, when union voting began, marked a glimmer of hope in the lives of 21,000 flight attendants at Delta Airlines, even though many of them may not see it. I am a Delta flight attendant and have been for over 20 years. It is a job I enjoy and treasure. After this election and a contract has been ratified, we hope we will again earn a livable wage.

I have never seen a more divisive campaign waged against a work group. We have been informed that our organizing tactics aren't "Christian!" A company slogan was adopted: "If you vote for AFA you no longer work for Delta." I choose to add "No, you work WITH them!" We have flight attendants being paid to perform "special sssignments" encouraging us to vote against the union as we report for work.

9-11-01 was the beginning of the end for the airline. Delta entered bankruptcy and, overnight, we lost 40% or our compensation and benefits. Our pensions were frozen. USAirways tried to acquire the company in a hostile takeover. The employees, along with Delta management, did all we could to resist this partnering by appealing to Congress and any legislator that would listen. We wore pins saying "Keep Delta My Delta!" The deal wasn't approved, much to our relief.

We had our first vote for representation by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA). It was a dismal failure. Employees felt an emotional attachment to a company that no longer existed. Richard Anderson was hired, he was a former Vice President for Northwest Airlines and also formerly legal counsel at Continental during the Lorenzo years.

Anderson was responsible for outsourcing some of Northwest's Asian flying to low-paid foreign contract employees.

Northwest flight attendants' contract restricted the percentage, but when they entered bankruptcy they pushed to outsource a much higher percentage. The Association of Flight Attendants negotiated pay cuts in order to save some of the jobs.

Again in the spring of 2009, we had our second union election. It seemed promising, but the union busting team that was hired to thwart our effort was successful. Delta submitted a list of "eligible to vote" employees to the National Mediation Board. If it weren't for the dead, incapacitated or workers on long-term medical disability that padded the list, we would have had the vote.

We merged with AFA representing Northwest Airlines. Due to their flight attendant group equalling 40% or more of our work force, another petition for a vote was triggered. The voting begins September 29th and concludes November 3rd.

It isn't easy. My fellow workers are telling me they can no longer associate with me due to my pro-union stance. As an organizer, I have been yelled at and demeaned in the aisle in front of passengers for my views. Every day a new flier or DVD arrives in my home mail box encouraging me to protect my future and vote against representation.

The management loyalists parade as lemmings with tags adhered to their luggage stating "NO WAY AFA!" I stand proudly adorning my lapel with a simple white AFA pen. I am entitled to a voice regarding my future. I deserve to be a respected and be a part of a democratic process that will empower over 21,000 flight attendants.


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  • Dear DL f/a' a member of afa/cwa myself please take my don't want ANYTHING to do with this union. Easily 90% of us would jump ship if we could, but once you're unionized it becomes a condition of your employment. There are better ways to negotiate. Forget these guys.
    They've taken 6 1/2 years to negotiate our contract and are still not REMOTELY close. The only thing they've done effectively is raise our dues, make sure you know how you can pay dues if you're out, and mail you stuff every 2 years to tell you to vote for every Democratic candidate and every socialist ballot initiative. They're absolutely useless.
    Pat is NO Friend!!

    Posted by usairways guy, 10/22/2010 5:20pm (5 years ago)

  • Simply put, I won't fly Delta, or any airline, unless they are Union. The Delta management is disgusting in their unmitigated attempt in quelling the voices of their employees. Management votes themselves pay raises, live in mansions, send their children to elite colleges, drive European luxury cars all at the expense of those who do the work. Sickening.

    GO UNION GO!!!!!!

    Posted by Paul, 10/09/2010 9:09pm (5 years ago)

  • Morons, that's what you all are, who actually think the scum thugs who drive BMWs and live in mansions at the top of the food change in unions are actually going to do something for you. I'll tell you what they're going to do, dip there hands in your pockets and buy bigger mansions.
    Sound familiar, congress has got the same game on.
    I'll keep my money, thank you very much.

    Posted by Hane Bogurwer, 10/05/2010 6:58am (5 years ago)

  • Having a union represent us is the only way we can stop the croynism and favoritism that has been going on since Joanne Smith and Sandy Gordon came on board from Song with their "Stars". Do you know why the "former song stars" that work on special assignment have their schedules blocked? No adays., no trips assigned. Schedules are blocked for whole month whether they are doing 1 day or 20 days of special assignment. Then it is unblocked after schedules come out. They fly when and what they want to pickup. Did you have adays last Dec? The "stars" had Christmas and New Years off last year even though all hands were supposed to be on deck; negating seniority. Some fa's on special assignments have not flown a trip in years including FSMs. They stay on the seniority list. And what about pay on special assignments? some former "stars" received higher pay for special assignments. one size does not fit all.

    Posted by Betty Sue, 10/01/2010 3:42pm (5 years ago)

  • Right on target! Exactly what the workers' news service needs. Looking forward to more reports as this critical development in a critical industry goes on.
    --jim lane in Dallas

    Posted by Jim Lane, 10/01/2010 9:13am (5 years ago)

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