Showing posts with label Delta Airlines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Delta Airlines. Show all posts

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Flight attendant union files charges against Delta Air Lines

AFA-CWA logoThe Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) has filed formal charges with the National Mediation Board (NMB) against Delta Air Lines alleging that the carrier's management illegally interfered with a recent union representation election among Delta's flight attendants. The allegations "include substantial evidence that Delta flight attendants were denied a free and fair election due to management's aggressive tactics aimed at defeating union representation."

In February of this year, a majority of Delta Air Lines flight attendants signed cards indicating that they wanted union representation. This was the first step in the unionization process. The second step was an official election to determine union representation, a process which ended on May 28.

Under the rules of the NMB, which supervises such elections, 50%-plus-one of all those eligible to vote must do so in order for an election to be certified. In the recent election, only 40% of eligible Delta Air Lines flight attendants cast ballots, thus even though the vast majority of those votes favored the AFA, the election could not be certified.

In a statement issued by the AFA, the organization's International President, Patricia Friend, said, "Delta flight attendants were denied the opportunity to freely participate in this election without being intimidated by management and heavy-handed efforts to keep them from gaining a voice. A majority of Delta flight attendants wanted the opportunity to have an election and they deserve an election that is free and fair. We now look for the NMB to stand up for that right and hold Delta executives accountable for their actions."

The AFA has charged that Delta management acted illegally to suppress the union vote, leading to the less-than-majority turnout, and the subsequently nullified election result. The AFA says:

If the NMB finds sufficient evidence that illegal interference occurred, it can set a new election. AFA-CWA is asking for a new election with a balloting procedure that will limit the effects of any further illegal conduct by Delta management. By rerunning the election using a 'Laker' Ballot, flight attendants will be permitted to vote "Yes" or "No" for AFA-CWA representation. In the previous election, flight attendants were discouraged from participating in the voting process as only the "Yes" votes were counted, thereby automatically counting those who did not vote as "No" votes.
Meanwhile, Delta's plans for a merger with Northwest Airlines are moving forward. Northwest's flight attendants already are represented by the AFA, and they have expressed an intention to stay with the union after the merger is complete.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Delta flight attendant union certification election results

Poster in a Delta Airlines crew lounge urges flight attendants to rip up their union ballots.Balloting for the election to certify the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) as the collective bargaining unit representing Delta Air Lines flight attendants was completed today, May 28, 2008. The AFA reportedly won the "vast majority" of the votes cast, however only about 40% of those eligible to vote did so. Under the rules of the National Mediation Board (NMB), which supervised the election, a majority of eligible voters must cast ballots in order for the election outcome to be certified. Since that did not happen, the AFA cannot be certified as the union representative for Delta's flight attendants at this time.

Management at Delta Air Lines openly opposed flight attendant unionization. The AFA has claimed that an aggressive voter suppression campaign by Delta management kept thousands from casting a vote. Tactics included the posting of signs in flight attendants' crew lounges (see photo) "encouraging them to rip up the voting information before even bothering to read about their rights."

"For months, Delta management has touted its commitment to the democratic process, yet never let up on their intimidation and coercion of voters. Their empty rhetoric cannot conceal their interference. The conditions surrounding election were neither free nor fair, as required by NMB statutes. Now it is up to the National Mediation Board to defend the Delta flight attendants’ right to an election free of interference," said AFA International President Patricia Friend in a statement issued by AFA.

Delta Air Lines put a different spin on the outcome of the union certification election. Instead of mentioning that only about 40% of those eligible cast a vote, the airline's management interpreted the non-votes as NO votes, by stating the following in a Delta Air Lines press release issued today:

Delta Air Lines has received notification from the National Mediation Board (NMB) that a decisive majority – more than 60 percent – of eligible flight attendants rejected representation by the Association of Flight Attendants/Communication Workers of America (AFA) in the representation election at Delta, and the airline will continue a direct relationship with its flight attendants.

“We are pleased that Delta’s flight attendants clearly believe that our unique culture and direct relationship are worth preserving,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “Delta continues to be the best advocate for its people, and our employees recognize the benefits of working together to enhance their careers and drive successful results for themselves and our company.”

Joanne Smith, senior vice president – In-Flight Service and Global Product Development, added, “This decision was one of the biggest our flight attendants faced in their career at Delta and it arose during some challenging times in our industry. Through all of these distractions – soaring fuel costs, a softening economy and an unrelenting AFA campaign of scare tactics and inaccurate information – the professionalism of all of our flight attendants shone as they maintained an unwavering focus on safety and service. This comes as no surprise however, because that is the Delta Difference; it is what sets us apart from the rest of this industry.
Not all Delta flight attendants share management's view of the situation, as evidenced by a particularly well-written opinion piece by a Delta flight attendant in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here is part of what she said:
To protect our future, it is critical that we have safeguards to keep management from destroying our profession —- safeguards that are detailed in a legally binding contract. Delta flight attendants want to maintain the quality of middle-class jobs that have benefited the local Atlanta economy and communities across the country for decades. We want to have a say in building and growing the world's largest airline.

What once was a "family style" environment at Delta is no more. This sad fact faces us each day. The new Delta is run by a group of executives who have only been around for nine months. People like former Northwest CEO Richard Anderson are making decisions that will affect the future of Delta flight attendants who have spent their lives building our company.

Our airline has evolved, and Delta flight attendants intend to do so as well. By becoming union members, we will actively defend our profession. We will protect our interests as we work alongside management in creating the world's largest airline.
There is another chapter to this story that has yet been told: When the Delta - Northwest Airlines merger takes place another union certification election will be held, since Northwest's flight attendants already are represented by AFA. Under the rules of the NMB, when a non-union work group merges with a union group, if 35 percent of combined workforce has union representation or signs a union card, a union election will automatically be called. That vote is expected to occur in early 2009.

[Photo Source]

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Delta flight attendants accuse management of suppressing union voters

Delta Airlines logoFlight attendants at Delta Air Lines voted earlier this year to unionize. A majority of Delta flight attendants already have submitted signature cards to the National Mediation Board (NMB), indicating that they wanted to be represented by a formal collective bargaining unit, even though Delta management has openly opposed the move toward flight attendant unionization.

Last week, Delta flight attendants began the next phase, casting their votes to decide whether the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) will be certified as their collective bargaining representative. The voting process, carried out under the supervision of the NMB, will continue until May 28, 2008. According to the rules, a majority of the entire flight attendant workforce must cast a vote in order for the election to be valid. Anything less than this majority turnout will void the election entirely, even if the union gets a clear majority of the votes cast.

Apparently the management of Delta Air Lines is persisting in its opposition to the union election, employing what AFA activists describe as "tactics of intimidation and interference, pushing flight attendants not to vote for the union." Earlier this week, a number of Delta flight attendants met with Congressional leaders to brief them on "Delta management’s aggressive voter suppression campaign during the current AFA-CWA representation election."

In a news release about their meetings with Congressional officials, the Delta flight attendants explain:

Management’s anti-union voter suppression campaign gained the attention of Capitol Hill earlier this month, prior to the start of the vote. In the U.S. Senate, 26 Senators submitted a letter to Delta Air Lines executives urging them to “demonstrate a genuine commitment to cooperative labor relations” and to remain neutral in this election. Delta executives never responded to the Senators’ letter. At the very moment Anderson was testifying in a U.S. House hearing on Delta’s announced merger with Northwest Airlines, management’s latest anti-union, voter suppression packet – with letters and a DVD – was being mailed to all flight attendants’ homes.

“Actions speak louder than words and management’s actions right now clearly indicate that they want to prevent us from having a union and having the right to negotiate a legally binding contract,” said Mara Levene, a Delta flight attendant and AFA-CWA activist. “Management will do whatever it takes to make sure that we do not have a voice. A solid majority of Delta flight attendants wanted this election and despite management’s fear tactics, bullying and intimidation, we remain determined and are voting for AFA-CWA representation.”
Delta CEO Richard Anderson testified in Congress last week that "management was supportive of the democratic process and would not engage in illegal interference." Not so, says Patricia Friend, AFA International President. “Their current actions to keep flight attendants from voting are anti-democratic and are a disgrace. Delta flight attendants have earned and deserve the right to have a voice in their future and a seat at the table,” said Ms. Friend.

Delta currently is seeking approval for a planned merger with Northwest Airlines. It is worth pointing out that Northwest's flight attendants already are represented by AFA. Delta's flight attendants have never had union representation.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Delta Air Lines opposes flight attendant unionization

Delta Airlines logoAs I wrote here in Cabin Crew News last month, Delta flight attendants are seeking union representation. In that article I wrote:

Up to now, Delta flight attendants have not been unionized. Although there has been growing dissatisfaction with pay and work rules among the rank and file, it seems that the tipping point came as Delta began engaging in merger talks with other carriers. Now a growing number of Delta's flight attendants are acknowledging the potential value of representation by a formal collective bargaining unit such as the AFA [the Association of Flight Attendants].
On February 14, 2008, a majority of Delta flight attendants did indeed submit signature cards to the National Mediation Board (NMB), formally requesting union representation. Yesterday, the NMB officially announced that the flight attendants' request for election of a union had been authorized. In its letter to Delta Air Lines and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the NMB indicated that "the election will be conducted by Telephone Electronic Voting and Internet Voting."
The Notice and Sample Instruction will be sent out on April 16, 2008. The Voting Instructions will be mailed to the employees on April 23, 2008. The voting period will be from 12:01 a.m., ET, April 23, 2008, through June 3, 2008. The tally will take place at the Board's offices on June 3, 2008, at 2 p.m. ET.
Today, Delta's response to this news was to issue a press release with a very lengthy title:

Delta Flight Attendants to Decide on Union Representation; Company Says Direct Relationship with Management Best for Flight Attendants

That title, folks, is the story in a nutshell. But there is a longer version. The press release, referenced above, included the text of a statement from Joanne Smith, senior vice president – In-Flight Service and Global Product Development, as follows:
“Delta flight attendants will make one of the most important decisions of their careers over the coming months as they choose between a direct relationship with Delta’s management team or the cost and risk of a third-party representative,” Smith said. “Our flight attendants have long been successful at speaking for themselves and we continually demonstrate our willingness to respond quickly and directly to their individual and collective feedback. I’m asking all of our flight attendants to make an educated choice, based on fact.

“The facts are: Delta flight attendants have it better than what the Association of Flight Attendants’ has been able to deliver at other airlines, and those airlines’ contracts are not open to changes for several years to come – years in which Delta flight attendants will continue to enjoy higher rates of pay, a better profit sharing program and a better performance rewards program.

“In contrast, the AFA’s track record at other network carriers is not a good one. The AFA has demonstrated that its members have not been protected from pay cuts, job loss, pension termination or any other changes affecting the airline industry. And flight attendants at those other airlines also must pay hundreds of dollars per year in union dues.

“Delta has good momentum thanks to the hard work of all Delta people and we look forward to the ability to continue working on their behalf and responding to their feedback,” Smith continued.
An Associated Press article about the upcoming union election, published on Forbes.com and elsewhere, quoted Corey Caldwell, an AFA-CWA spokeswoman, who said Smith's statement is "typical, anti-union rhetoric that companies use."
"The truth is when there is a union on property, there's just as much communication with management as there was before," Caldwell said. "The only thing that changes is this time the flight attendants get to determine the issues and policies that affect them as a group instead of being dependent on the company to make decisions for them."
For further insight about what rank-and-file Delta flight attendants are thinking about the unionization issue, visit the Delta Voices page of the website opened by AFA to support the campaign by Delta flight attendants for unionization. There, dozens of Delta flight attendants have come forward publicly to share with their flying partners their reasons for supporting the move to unionize.

Should Delta's flight attendants succeed in their bid to unionize, they will be airline's the second major work group to have union representation. At the present time, only Delta's pilots are represented by a union; they are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cabin features on Delta's new Boeing 777-200LR

Last week, Delta Airlines took delivery of a new Boeing 777-200LR, the first of its type delivered to a U.S.-based carrier. The aircraft will be known as "The Delta Spirit."

The new aircraft will be the flagship aircraft for Delta’s new BusinessElite® global product, according to a Delta news release. The BusinessElite® cabin (see photo at right) includes the following features:

  • Reclining seats that adjust to multiple comfortable positions, including a completely flat 6-foot 3-inch bed
  • Privacy screens incorporating pull-out meal table, fold-out 10.6-inch personal video screen, integrated footrest and personal stowage compartment for bags, shoes or blankets
  • Immediate access to the aisle so customers do not have to disturb another passenger when exiting their seat
  • USB ports offering charging ability for personal MP3 players
The airline plans to have similar sleeper suites installed on all of the B-777 aircraft in its fleet by 2010.

Economy passengers flying on the new B777-200LR aircraft will enjoy comfortable new all leather slim-line seats, manufactured by Weber Aircraft LP. The Weber seats have ergonomically designed cushions, and provide additional under-seat storage. Each seat has on-demand music, movies, games and television on individual 9-inch video monitors.

The aircraft is set to begin scheduled service tomorrow (March 8, 2008) with a flight between Atlanta and Los Angeles. The first international run for Delta's new B777-200LR, will be on March 9 when it flies from Atlanta to Tokyo.

[Photo Source]

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Disruptive Delta passenger offloaded, jailed in Bangor

Delta Airlines Flight DL176, a Boeing 767-300 aircraft, diverted to Bangor, ME on the evening of February 29, 2008 due to a disruptive passenger. The flight had been en route from Atlanta to Dublin, Ireland when a male passenger became unruly, assaulted another passenger, and made threatening statements. He was taken into custody at Bangor International Airport and remanded to the Penobscot County Jail. The flight later resumed its journey to Dublin.

The passenger was identified in news reports as 44 year old Aiden Mackle, of Portadown, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland. He appeared in U.S. District Court yesterday, charged with interference with a flight crew and assault. An article on the Bangor Daily News website reported the following details about the incident:

The man, who had been visiting family in San Diego, became unruly Friday night about 2½ hours after the plane left Atlanta about 9:10 p.m., according to court documents. Mackle allegedly drank three or four of the small bottles of wine sold onboard. He then allegedly went to the restroom and illegally smoked a cigarette.

When a flight attendant confronted him about the smoking and told the captain she was dealing with an unruly passenger, Mackle allegedly said he was associated with Osama bin Laden and was going to hijack the plane.

Mackle also punched an off-duty Delta employee and told airline employees that he was a terrorist, according to court documents.
A USA Today article about the incident added that, according to an affidavit presented in court, Mackle "...responded to an off-duty AirTran Airways pilot who told him that the flight may have to make an emergency landing, 'OK, I'm a terrorist. Go ahead and land the plane,' and then proceeded to punch an off-duty Delta flight attendant who warned him that he may have to be restrained."

A detention hearing is scheduled for March 5, 2008 to determine whether Mackle will be released on bail.

UPDATE March 10, 2008: The Boston Globe reported today that a federal judge has denied bail to Mr. Mackle. The news article said, "After a 40-minute hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk found probable cause for the charges and sided with Amie Blanchette of the U.S. Probation Office who testified that Mackle should be detained to insure that he will show up for trial." He will continue to be detained, pending trial on charges of assault and interfering with a flight crew.

UPDATE June 25, 2008: The Bangor Daily News reports that A Federal Court judge has sentenced Mr. Mackle to time already served in jail (116 days), two years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $20,030 restitution to Delta Air Lines. In addition, he is being deported, and is forbidden to re-enter the U.S. without specific permission from immigration officials.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Delta flight attendants seek union representation

Delta Airlines logoThis week, flight attendants at Delta Airlines will formally act to seek union representation. On February 14, the flight attendants will file signed cards to this effect. If a sufficient number of signed cards are collected and verified by the U.S. National Mediation Board (NMB), an election will be called to officially determine union representation. The NMB is responsible for overseeing union representation elections in the U.S. airline industry.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, known as "AFA," has been working for some time with Delta flight attendants who favor union representation. A media release issued last week by AFA states that "a solid majority of Delta flight attendants have signed cards and eagerly await an election."

Up to now, Delta flight attendants have not been unionized. Although there has been growing dissatisfaction with pay and work rules among the rank and file, it seems that the tipping point came as Delta began engaging in merger talks with other carriers. Now a growing number of Delta's flight attendants are acknowledging the potential value of representation by a formal collective bargaining unit such as the AFA.

The AFA has opened a website -- Delta AFA -- to support the campaign by Delta flight attendants for unionization. There is a copy of the authorization card for union representation on the website, as well as a wealth of information about AFA, and about the legal rights of flight attendants in regard to collective bargaining and unionization. In addition, the website features a page with comments by individual Delta flight attendants telling why they want AFA -- definitely an interesting read!

According to reports in the news media, Northwest Airlines currently is considered to be the most likely merger partner for Delta, however officials at United Airlines also have discussed a potential merger with Delta. Flight attendants at both Northwest and United already are represented by AFA.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Delta flight attendant wins $1 million in Georgia Lottery

Georgia Lottery winner Kristen DiloretoDelta flight attendant Kristen Diloreto, pictured at right, recently won $1 million playing the Georgia Lottery instant game Georgia's $500 Million Club. Ms. Diloreto purchased her winning ticket at a Publix supermarket in the town where she lives.

According to a Georgia Lottery news release, Ms. Diloreto purchased the ticket while grocery shopping at the store. She scratched the ticket to reveal the winning number while still in her car.

"I was thrilled," she said. "I took the ticket back to the store manager, and we both looked at each other in disbelief."

The 40 year old flight attendant and her husband have three children. She said that she and her husband may use a bit of the winnings to take a family vacation. Beyond that, they have no immediate plans for their million dollar prize.

Congratulations to Kristen Diloreto on her good fortune!

[Photo Source]

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Delta Clipped Wings - 50th anniversary

Delta Clipped Wings logoDelta Clipped Wings marked its 50th birthday last week with a celebration at the Delta World Headquarters in Atlanta. Established in 1957. Delta Clipped Wings is an organization of retired an active flight attendants who have completed at least 20 years of service.

There is a wonderful narrated slide show about Delta Clipped Wings on the CNN website. Featured are images of Delta flight attendant uniforms over the years, and images of flight attendants at work on various kinds of Delta aircraft. In the narration, current and former Delta flight attendants offer their views on how the job has changed over the years. Don't miss Flight Attendants: A Career Evolution.

Congratulations to Delta Clipped Wings for their 50 years of service to the community and for supporting one another as only flight attendants know how to do.