The AFL-CIO has issued a ruling that confirmed the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) has systematically undermined your IAM Delta campaign and your honorable goal of bringing union representation to all Delta Flight Attendants. As a result of AFA’s interference, the AFL-CIO, the umbrella organization of unions in the United States, has forbidden AFA from further meddling in the IAM Delta campaign for at least the next one and a half years, and has ruled the IAM as the official, exclusive organizing campaign for Delta Flight Attendants.
What does this mean?
This means that AFA cannot organize Delta Flight Attendants during the 18-month exclusivity period or undermine your IAM Delta campaign any longer. If they attempt to do so or fail to proactively end any attempts to organize in their name, the IAM will seek further substantial sanctions against AFA, which could include financial penalties.
This means that every single AFA card that has been collected cannot be used to file for an election.
This means that every minute spent collecting or signing an AFA card did nothing but undermine the only legitimate campaign to bring union representation to Delta Flight Attendants, your IAM Delta campaign.
How did we get here?
A year ago, with AFA’s tacit approval, a competing campaign to organize Delta Flight Attendants became public. After becoming aware of AFA’s interference with your IAM Delta campaign, the IAM’s leadership met with AFA’s leadership to explain that the only winner when two unions compete is Delta Air Lines. The IAM also reminded AFA that since the Machinists Union had an ongoing campaign at Delta, under AFL-CIO rules designed to give active campaigns the best chance of success, they could not interfere or compete with your organizing efforts. AFA, however, refused to take the necessary steps to end any organizing in its name at Delta.
With AFA continuing to undermine IAM Delta’s efforts, the IAM in October 2017 filed charges with the AFL-CIO against the Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFA’s parent union. The charges sought the AFL-CIO to enforce its rules, protect your campaign and end the union competition that Delta was all too happy to see happen. Those charges led to a mediation session in December 2017 where AFA again refused to take any steps to end the divisions they created among Delta Flight Attendants who seek union representation. The AFA refused to state publicly, in writing, that they would not interfere in your IAM Delta campaign. Mediation failed due to AFA’s desire to see your IAM Delta campaign derailed.
The IAM then processed the case to arbitration to ensure that years of organizing by Delta Flight Attendants would not be in vain. The arbitration hearing, heard by a neutral umpire the AFL-CIO selected, occurred on March 21, 2018 in Washington DC. In that arbitration hearing the IAM presented undisputed evidence of AFA taking active steps to undermine your IAM Delta campaign, dating back to 2015. The IAM proved how AFA’s interference has kept Delta Flight Attendants from successfully gaining union representation in that period. This evidence contradicted AFA’s continuous false claims that it was not engaged in a competition of unions.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka earlier this week sent IAM International President Robert Martinez and CWA International President Chris Shelton Umpire Wilma Liebman's decision.
Umpire Liebman ignored AFA’s denials and stated, “employees are circulating AFA-CWA authorization cards […] at the same time that the IAM is attempting to sign up the majority it needs to trigger an election. This activity places the two AFL-CIO affiliates in direct organizing competition."
Upmire Liebman further found, contrary to AFA’s claims, that, “[the IAM] is committing significant resources to run a large and active campaign among the Delta flight attendants.” She went further and stated, “there is no question of the IAM’s ability to win representation and achieve a strong contract on behalf of [Delta] flight attendants.” This historic ruling confirmed the IAM’s commitment to Delta Flight Attendants and exposed the continuous meddling by the AFA over the last three years.
If AFA’s “grassroots” organizers now join our efforts and work toward an IAM election, we will be able to file for and win a representation election within the 18-month period of exclusivity. If, however, AFA, continues its divisive tactics, Delta Flight Attendants may never get to an election. A divided workforce only benefits Delta Air Lines.
The IAM will not abandon Delta Flight Attendants after the 18-month period of exclusivity. The IAM will continue to support all Delta Flight Attendants’ efforts to gain union representation and collective bargaining rights.
It is unfortunate that AFA has been undermining your efforts to attain union representation. Delta Flight Attendants will get past the many roadblocks that have been placed in your way and keep moving toward the election and the first-class representation you deserve.
Request your a-card here. Then, we will be able to finally gain the right to vote YES for the largest and most powerful airline union in the world, the IAM.
Click here to read the entire decision.