AFA-CWA Presents Massive Evidence of Delta Air Lines’ Violation of Flight Attendants’ Rights
Interference Charges Detail Multiple Election Rule Violations by Delta Management
Delta Air Lines management spent all the money necessary to deny our rights on the job by breaking all the rules of a fair election and seizing control of the voting process. On November 3, the National Mediation Board announced the results of the AFA-CWA representation election involving the almost 20,000 Delta Flight Attendants. Of the 19,887 eligible voters, 18,760 votes were cast – 9,216 voted for AFA representation, while 9,544 voted against union representation -- a difference of 328 votes.
Because of Delta’s coercive, intrusive and unlawful anti-Flight Attendant union campaign, on November 23, AFA updated objections reported to the NMB during the election process. Election interference charges detailed over 80 pages, backed with stacks of evidence from Flight Attendants, were filed with the NMB to request a new election be conducted under procedures that would allow Delta Flight Attendants to make our decision on representation in an atmosphere free from Delta interference. Sources in Delta management have told AFA that management spent over $38 million of company money to keep us from obtaining our legal right to union representation.
The full interference charges are posted on deltaafa.org. In summary, the charges include the following unlawful actions by Delta management:
Voting on management-controlled computers
Delta actively encouraged us to cast votes on “DeltaNet,” a management-controlled intranet site that requires all users to log in with their unique employee log-in and password. Once logged in, Delta provided a direct link to the NMB voting site which allowed management to, at minimum, track which users went to the voting website, and at worst, interfere with the online voting process. Flight Attendants who remotely logged in to DeltaNet could also be tracked when they clicked on the NMB link on DeltaNet.
During the last AFA election, Delta loudly complained when AFA put a hyperlink to the NMB website in an email to Delta Flight Attendants even though AFA had no ability to track the link. Now Delta is admitting to doing the very thing it warned the NMB against in the last election, but this time it is an actual confiscation of the voting process by running the vote through company computers.
Such conduct constituted ‘per se surveillance’, and compromised the secrecy of the voting process.
Delta misrepresented NMB voting rules
Delta repeatedly told us in its publications, banners, posters and emails that we “MUST VOTE” which gave the unmistakable impression that voting was mandatory, or a condition of the job.
Delta CEO Richard Anderson repeatedly stated in system-wide conference calls with Flight Attendants and in his weekly recorded statements that every Flight Attendant “must cast a ballot” or that Delta wanted “100%" voter participation.
AFA agrees that democracy works when we all participate freely, but the conditions set by Delta management violated our right to cast ballots free from management interference. What Delta management did was tantamount to a lobbyist escorting you from your home to the election site and entering the voting booth with you to demand you cast your ballot.
Delta told Flight Attendants to vote “NO” even if they supported representation
Delta also instructed us to vote “NO” even if they support unionization, but not AFA. Under this twisted logic, Delta was assuring Flight Attendants that a “NO” vote would help defeat AFA and thus give them the opportunity to vote in a year, when union supporters can choose a union other than AFA. To Delta, of course, no matter which union is on the ballot it is the “wrong” union.
Delta inundated the workplace with anti-AFA propaganda
Delta overwhelmed the Flight Attendant check-in areas with banners, posters, flyers, and continuously playing videos exhorting them to vote” NO.”
When Flight Attendants logged into DeltaNet to check in for a trip or to get updated on company announcements (which is mandatory), we were greeted with a “pop-up” page that said “DECISION 2010" that had links to Delta anti-AFA videos and animations explaining why we should not vote for AFA.
It was the equivalent of a prohibited “captive-audience” meeting since every Flight Attendant was forced to view the pop-up before reviewing company emails.
Delta gave a pay raise to “non-union” employees only
On October 1, 2010, two days after voting information was mailed to Flight Attendants, Delta, with great fanfare and a letter from CEO Richard Anderson, announced a pay increase only to “non-union” Flight Attendants. Since the pre-merger Northwest Flight Attendants were represented by AFA, they would not receive the raise unless they voted against representation. Supervisors also promised to give pay raises, and provide other benefits if Flight Attendants voted “NO.”
We all deserve a raise for the good work we do, especially since Delta Flight Attendants trail the industry in total compensation and benefits. Management is not interested in paying us what we actually deserve, and they are certainly not interested in having to talk with us about what we deserve. On the day after the election, MarketWatch reported:
“By avoiding the AFA-CWA, Delta will be able to keep a long-time cost advantage over its more unionized rivals. Organizing could have increased flight-attendant costs by 3% to 5% over the first year, eventually climbing as high as 10%, according to Robert Herbst of AirlineFinancials.com.
“Delta’s wage cost for flight attendants as a percentage of operating revenue is now at 2.87%, Herbst said. That compares with budget carrier Southwest Airlines at 3.84%, Continental Airlines at 3.94% and American Airlines at 3.87%.”
Delta supervisors called Flight Attendant homes
During the last two (2) weeks of the voting period, Delta supervisors called Flight Attendants at home, sometimes repeatedly, asking if they had voted, and in some instances, how they voted. One supervisor told a Flight Attendant that voting was mandatory. Another asked a Flight Attendant if they made the right decision “for your future at Delta.”
These calls were intimidating since Delta supervisors only call us at home when potential disciplinary action is involved.
Delta violated its own “Advocacy Policy”
Though Delta adopted an “Advocacy Policy” ostensibly to provide equal access to both pro and anti-AFA groups to campaign, in reality, we were banned from setting up tables in most Flight Attendant lounges. Anti-AFA employees, on the other hand, were allowed to leave their anti-union literature around work areas, were permitted to wear oversized “NO WAY AFA” buttons, and were freely allowed to set up information tables in work areas.
In the layover hotels in Narita, Japan and Amsterdam, Delta supervisors were sent to interfere with AFA’s ability to talk with our flying partners in the hotel lobbies, a practice that was unfettered prior to the election period. This interference is particularly significant since between 165-200 Flight Attendants are laying over in each hotel on any given night. A switch of 165 “NO” votes to “YES” votes would have resulted in Delta Flight Attendants having rights on the job and the ability to control our future.
Delta sent home mailers that were filled with lies
Delta sent a dozen glossy mailers to Flight Attendant homes that contained misrepresentations of NMB voting rules, and lies about NWA vs. Delta pay and benefits that AFA could not respond to since the NMB doesn’t compel carriers to provide unions with voters’ home addresses.
Delta management requested, and was provided, an extension for their response. Their response to the interference charges must be filed by December 21, 2010.