WASHINGTON (PAI)-The National Mediation Board, which governs bargaining between labor and management in airlines and railroads, has rejected the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA’s case that Delta Airlines skewed last December’s union recognition vote there through management interference.

The ruling apparently ends AFA-CWA’s third try to organize flight attendants at the “new Delta” – a combination of airlines that saw anti-union red-state Delta devour wall-to-wall-union blue-state Northwest. The NMB’s decision bitterly disappointed AFA.

AFA-CWA lost the third vote, among 19,000 voting flight attendants at the combined airline, by around 300 votes. That loss deprived 8,000 unionized Northwest flight attendants of representation, after 60 years, and denied it to the rest.

“NMB has now given a green light to all manner of employer coercion and intimidation during representation elections that leaves employees with no recourse. It is a shameful, illogical and cowardly decision,” said AFA-CWA President Veda Shook.

The NMB took a year to reach its decision, AFA-CWA noted on Nov. 18. “This is not democracy, not in outcome nor process,” the union’s statement added.

AFA said Delta broke the law in the run-up to last December’s vote by urging Flight Attendants to vote “NO” as the best way to support another Union, increasing supervisor surveillance of flight attendants at work, threatening union supporters and “running an aggressive campaign against union representation.”

“However, the board concluded this coercive conduct did not affect the outcome,” despite what the union called management’s “blatant, persistent attack on Flight Attendants’ right to fairly choose a union,” AFA said.



Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.