Fighting against fierce management intimidation, Delta Air Lines flight attendants came within 328 votes of winning an AFA-CWA voice and bargaining rights.
The vote was 9,216 for union representation and 9,544 for no union. The turnout was huge, about 94 percent of the more than 20,000 eligible flight attendants voted in the National Mediation Board election.
AFA-CWA will file interference charges with the National Mediation Board over the atmosphere of harassment and intimidation that Delta management created with its “Decision 2010” campaign.
“The amount of intimidation these flight attendants experienced is unprecedented,” said AFA-CWA President Pat Friend. Management “stopped at nothing to keep Delta flight attendants from gaining a voice and advancing their profession.”
A major part of AFA-CWA’s complaint will focus on management’s pressure that flight attendants cast their vote on the company’s computers. AFA-CWA General Counsel Ed Gilmartin explained how it worked:
Flight attendants would log in for their flight assignments, as required, and the first screen that popped up was one asking if they had voted and directing them immediately to the NMB site. “It’s clear to us that Delta was tracking the voting. This kind of surveillance is a violation of the confidentiality and secret guarantee of the voting process under NMB rules,” he told reporters.
At the news teleconference, local AFA-CWA flight attendant leaders from Northwest, which merged with Delta, and Delta flight attendants outlined other ways that management harassed and coerced flight attendants about their vote.
Delta flight attendants Mary Ellen Moore and Toni Weinfurtner said flight attendants were “inundated” with literature, banners, email and phone calls from Delta management about the vote. Some anti-AFA-CWA materials were even displayed on board aircraft, they said. Flight attendants were called by supervisors several times, not to talk about work schedules or other issues, but for supervisors to deliver Delta’s message about voting.
AFA-CWA Northwest President Janette Rook and Vice President Daniel Grey also talked about the intimidation of flight attendants and pointed out that Northwest flight attendants have had bargaining rights for more than 60 years. AFA-CWA will continue to work on behalf of all Delta flight attendants – those from pre-merger Northwest and pre-merger Delta.