Delta-Northwest Merger Fails To Win Approval From Key Stakeholders
April 25, 2008
CEOs Reluctant and Vague While Addressing Effects on Employees
Washington, DC - The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), which represents Northwest flight attendants and is currently on the ballot for a representation election for Delta Air Lines flight attendants, testified before a U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee on the effects the pending merger between Delta and Northwest would have on flight attendants and other employees. AFA-CWA International Vice President Veda Shook, accompanied by flight attendants from Delta and Northwest, urged Congress to send a strong signal to airline management that this merger must not be used as a means to destroy the collective bargaining rights of the flight attendants and other airline employees.
"There are virtually no protections for airline workers in a merger and little attention has been paid to the extreme upheaval that mergers create for the thousands of airline employees who find themselves unemployed, whose lives are disrupted, or whose work may be outsourced," said Shook. "The only protection employees have today is through their individual unions and collective bargaining agreements, but there is little to no protection for non-union airline employees. Bargaining rights are paramount if flight attendants are to have an opportunity to negotiate over the impact this merger will have on their work lives. If Delta executives use this merger to eliminate the rights of employees to have a seat at the table, not only will Northwest flight attendants lose the over sixty years of contractual rights they have fought for and won, but all flight attendants will be left fully exposed to the whims of management."
Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) grilled Anderson regarding current labor relations and asked if management had responded to the letter signed by 26 U.S. Senators requesting Delta's neutrality in the current Delta flight attendant election. Anderson's reply was to simply repeat the carrier's commitment to the democratic process. When Rep. Sutton reiterated her question as to whether Delta would commit to neutrality, Anderson supplied a series of veiled responses. Rep. Sutton confronted Anderson on his failure to answer the question regarding whether the carrier would remain neutral in the AFA-CWA representation election, and entered into the official record his reluctance to commit to neutrality.
"Flight attendants deserve to have an equal say in determining their futures instead of trusting airline executives to know what is in their best interest. Without putting in writing all their promises, these executives' words are meaningless. Delta management is currently waging a rigorous voter suppression campaign in the flight attendant election, and they will not stop until they have created the world's largest non-union airline, which is why it is imperative that we do not let this happen," reiterated Shook.
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.