NMB Agrees with AFA - Delta Election Merits Investigation
Today, the National Mediation Board (NMB) notified AFA and Delta management that, “in order for the Board to determine whether the laboratory conditions were tainted, further investigation is needed.”
Parties do not have the automatic right to an on-site investigation merely by virtue of filing interference charges. The Board has, in past cases, dismissed the allegations without conducting an on-site investigation.
Simply put, you were right – and your election wasn’t fair. The NMB agrees with AFA that substantive evidence of interference exists, and it will investigate the claims made by Flight Attendants.
Further detail of how we got here is provided below in “Background Information and Next Steps.”
Good News for Flight Attendants
The Board’s decision to conduct interviews and an on-site investigation is a great victory for Flight Attendants standing up for justice and democracy in the work place. We recognize this process has been extremely difficult as Delta management has disrupted lives by denying flight attendants the right to a fair election and delaying the integration process.
We continue to hear every day from Delta Flight Attendants who urge AFA to keep up our challenge and maintain your right to a fair election – and ultimately a voice at work. For some it means restoring the representation you have always known and the protections afforded with a union contract. For others it is the promise that your work experience and home life can be better, knowing that you have a legally binding contract ensuring defined pay, benefits and work rules in exchange for your hard work along with the daily representation of Flight Attendants who share your proud profession.
Preparing for the “Spin”
Expect management to continue blaming AFA for just about anything having to do with Flight Attendants. Management is wholly responsible for interfering in the election which, in turn, has prolonged the integration process. Instead of laying the blame where it belongs – at management’s feet – they hope we will blame AFA. But we understand what happened. We were denied a fair and interference-free election and have been forced to endure the consequences of their actions.
As the saying goes, "the wheels of justice grind slowly."
Understanding that, we must remain steadfast in our resolve. In the United States of America we have the right to a fair and interference-free election. Our long term goal is a legally binding contract at Delta and membership in the Flight Attendant Union. AFA has been fighting for equality and justice for Flight Attendants for 65 years. Please join us in a conference call to discuss the NMB's investigation process and the kick off to our new campaign at 3 pm EDT on Thursday, July 9. Conference call information will be posted in subsequent newsletters.
Background Information and Next Steps
On September 1, 2010, the NMB authorized an election in the matter of the representation of the Flight Attendants at Delta Air Lines, Inc.
The tally of votes took place on November 3, 2010. The Report of Election, issued on November 4, 2010, reflected that a majority of votes cast was for no representation. The Board issued a Dismissal and the representation of the former Northwest Flight Attendants was extinguished.
On November 23, 2010, AFA acted on reports from Delta Flight Attendants and filed allegations of election interference describing Delta’s conduct in the most aggressive anti-union campaign AFA has ever experienced. Delta responded on December 21, 2010. AFA filed an additional response on January 14, 2011 and Delta replied on February 10, 2011.
The Railway Labor Act (“RLA”) provides that it shall be the Board’s duty to investigate representation disputes to “insure the choice of representatives by the employees without interference, influence, or coercion exercised by the carrier.” The Board investigates whether the allegations and evidence, if true, might reasonably taint the laboratory conditions required for an election under the RLA.
The Board’s Representation Manual provides that, “Allegations of election interference must state a prima facie case that the laboratory conditions were tainted and must be supported by substantive evidence. Allegations of election interference not sufficiently supported by substantive evidence will be dismissed.”
Today, the NMB issued its initial findings on the submissions in this case. Having reviewed the submissions provided by AFA and Delta, including AFA’s extensive statement of factual allegations supported by numerous written declarations and exhibits, the Board determined that further investigation is warranted. And so, the Board’s investigation of AFA’s allegations of interference will move to the next stage. The Board Investigator will be in contact with the participants to schedule interviews and on-site investigations.
AFA Media Release: ELECTION MERITS INVESTIGATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2011
CONTACT: Corey Caldwell 202-434-0586
NMB: Agrees With Flight Attendant Union – Delta Election Merits Investigation
Board Orders On-Site Investigation Based on Charges of Management Misconduct in Flight Attendant Union Election
WASHINGTON – The National Mediation Board has agreed with the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO (AFA) that substantive evidence exists that Delta Air Lines interfered with a representation election of Delta Flight Attendants last year. AFA had filed charges of interference on behalf of Delta Flight Attendants.
“Delta Flight Attendants will finally have their day in court,” AFA International President Veda Shook said in announcing the decision by the NMB. “Delta management’s misconduct in this election was blatant and persistent – from daily emails to a barrage of misinformation sent in slick brochures to homes, to encouraging Flight Attendants to vote on company computers, where they could be monitored.”
In a letter from NMB General Counsel Mary L. Johnson, AFA and Delta were notified that an investigator would be in contact to interview both parties, and would conduct an on-site investigation to determine “whether the laboratory conditions were tainted.”
Flight Attendants got calls to their homes from supervisors, while Flight Attendants supporting AFA were denied the ability to talk with other Flight Attendants, even in the lobbies of layover hotels.
“Delta management has not denied the substance of any of our charges,” Shook said. “Instead, they have disrupted lives by denying Flight Attendants the right to a fair election and delaying the integration process.”
AFA is also supporting pre-merger Northwest Flight Attendants who earlier this year filed suit against Delta Air Lines for discrimination based on the fact that they were union members.
Shook said AFA would cooperate fully with the investigation, and urged Delta management to stop its delaying tactics. “Flight Attendants are standing up for democracy and equality,” she said. “In 65 years at the Association of Flight Attendants, we have never backed away from seeking justice and equality for Flight Attendants. We remain steadfast in supporting the Delta Flight Attendants who contact us every day and urge us to continue to support them in their struggle for democracy, equality and a voice at work.”
For over 65 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. Nearly 50,000 Flight Attendants at 21 airlines come together to form AFA, the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org