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Boarding Pay Introduced by Delta Management

Date: April 29, 2022

Earlier this week, Delta management announced they would begin paying their Flight Attendants boarding pay at half the rate of flight time pay. This is a good thing, and, in our view, all Flight Attendants should receive boarding pay.  After all, this has been a priority for Flight Attendants for at least the last twenty years.  However, since 9/11 we’ve been consumed with battling management at the bargaining table to keep that which we’ve previously accomplished during negotiations.  We are now finally back at the bargaining table for the first time in many years to collectively advance our priorities, working hand in hand with APFA, the Union representing American Airlines Flight Attendants, to advance our demands.

So, one asks, “What the rest of the story?” Shrouded by this announcement is the fact that Delta management has increased passenger boarding time from 35 to 40 minutes and this announcement is their attempt to tamper back the angry reaction it deserves from Flight Attendants. Further, this decision is unquestionably tied to AFA’s ongoing effort in organizing Delta Flight Attendants.  In fact, it can be argued this is Delta’s effort to beat back the Amazon and Starbucks trend at the airline.

As Delta continues to add additional services, they have failed to restore staffing to pre-pandemic levels on the aircraft.  And, this initiative seemingly is designed to divert attention from the fact that Delta will require all Flight Attendants to wear a uniform that has made them sick, an initiative AFA is fighting against as our collective work to establish standards continues.

What also cannot be overlooked is this; in the absence of a contract, there is no commitment to lock in this pay factor for Delta Flight Attendants.  It’s a stark reminder that Delta management, in the same manner in which it was implemented, has the ability to unilaterally end the boarding pay, at their sole discretion, in the same way a bi-weekly pay methodology was implemented forcing Delta Flight Attendants to fly within every two-week period in order to maintain benefits and to get a paycheck.  This will continue to be the case until that time when Delta Flight Attendants vote for Union representation.

Our organizing efforts matter.  While we push at the top, our efforts are designed to ensure the bottom doesn’t fall out as management works to undercut good jobs and circumvent the law as is the case at recently organized Avelo Airlines where airline management refused to negotiate. 

All of these developments illustrate the importance of us collectively pressing forward together in order for us to keep building power through strike votes and solidarity actions.   For workers, this is our moment, and we must make the most out of it.  Collective power makes a difference in our workplace.  But, if we don’t lock in the worker’s rights that come with having a Union, we run the risk of losing this moment with the end result being a continued battle to hang on to what we’ve still got rather than fighting for what we deserve and taking back our share of the money we work so hard to capture for our airline.

Refer to our Opening Proposal Summary on our Negotiations website at contract2021.org.

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