Delta Flight Attendants To Participate In Historic Union Election
March 20, 2008
Washington, DC - Flight attendants at Delta Air Lines received news this week from the National Mediation Board (NMB) that they will soon have the opportunity to vote on becoming members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA). In a March 18 letter, the NMB authorized a representation election for Delta flight attendants. AFA-CWA anticipates that the dates for the voting schedule will be announced within the next week.
"In this time of vast uncertainty, Delta flight attendants are becoming aware of the great advantages that AFA-CWA offers," said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President. "Delta flight attendants know that their colleagues at AFA-CWA represented airlines not only have experience in the fluctuations of the airline industry, but have learned how to negotiate programs and policies that offer real solutions. For example, when Northwest flight attendants negotiated an early out program, more that $16 million of cost savings generated from the plan went directly back into the pockets of the remaining flight attendants. Other programs, like leaves of absence designed to avoid layoffs, have been negotiated by AFA-CWA carriers and include such things as the continuation of paid medical and dental insurance for the duration of the leave. In most cases, these voluntary programs allowed airline management to either avoid or substantially reduce the need to layoff flight attendants at the bottom of their seniority list."
On February 14, Delta flight attendants submitted a solid majority of signature cards to the NMB, formally requesting a union representation election for only the second time in the history of the airline. Over the past 18 months, Delta flight attendants have been running a grass roots campaign to become members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Recent events have made it clear that they need and want a voice in their future and a legally binding contract they can count on.
"We need a voice - more so than at any other time - to be able to negotiate for our own future, and to have a say in how a merger, or a layoff might affect us," said Toni Weinfurtner, Delta flight attendant and AFA-CWA activist. "We will have that voice when we join the tens of thousands of our fellow flight attendants across the country at the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA."
Once the NMB determines the dates for voting, Delta flight attendants will participate in a secret-vote election that will determine union representation. The NMB, the federal agency that supervises airline and railway labor relations, typically conducts voting electronically via the Internet or through a phone-activated system. With roughly 13,000 Delta flight attendants eligible to vote this will be one of the largest union elections in the U.S. this year.
For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, 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.afanet.org.