Delta management and their highly-paid, union buster lawyers want us to believe that if we unionize we risk delaying wage increases and other improvements because contract negotiations take a long time. They want us to believe that if we remain dependent on them, and their “good will” that we’ll be better off.
In one of their latest flyers, management cites specific rounds of contract negotiations at other airlines to prove their point. But, as usual, they’re not telling us the whole truth.
Delta management points to the United-Continental merger negotiations as an example. What Delta management doesn’t say is that the last TWO rounds of negotiations at United have taken less than 16 months: November, 2015 to April, 2016 and, most recently, from December, 2021 to April, 2023.
The latest round of negotiations at American Airlines took 4.5 years. That’s true. But what Delta management is not telling us is that seven months after negotiations began, in the summer of 2016, IAM members at American negotiated a 25% pay increase and then continued to negotiate the rest of the contract. When an agreement was ratified in March, 2020, at the very onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, IAM members at American received another pay increase of approximately 5 percent that put them at the top of the airline industry.
Delta management then cites the latest round of Southwest negotiations to influence us not to form a union. Yes, it’s true that the negotiations took 4.5 years. And it’s true that IAM members at Southwest VOTED to reject Southwest’s offer twice, as if VOTING on terms of employment is a bad thing. Delta management leaves out the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic occurred right smack in the middle of Southwest negotiations. While Delta management CUT the pay of Delta workers during the pandemic by cutting our hours, IAM members at Southwest continued to negotiate with their full pay and hours. When it was all said and done, IAM members at Southwest stood at the top of the industry, and by year’s end Southwest IAM members will again be at the top of the industry, surpassing us, and the current industry leader, United.
Delta also conveniently forgot to mention that in all the above mentioned negotiations, IAM members negotiated almost $300 million in signing bonuses to be issued to all workers to offer extra cash compensation for ratifying their respective agreements.
And, what about Delta Pilots who are represented by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA)? ALPA’s previous contract became amendable on December 31, 2019. It took almost three years to come to terms on a new deal. But when both parties reached a new agreement, the contract provided approximately $7 billion in overall compensation, with 34 percent pay increases over four years, increased 401k matches and lower insurance premiums and a hefty lump sum payment. Definitely worth the wait.
The truth is, when we finally gain union representation, it will be up to us and Delta management how long negotiations take. Both sides must negotiate in “good faith,” as the law requires. In the end, it will be US, Delta ramp, tower and cargo workers, who will decide how long negotiations take. And we will decide with our vote. Something we don’t have right now.
Can we really trust our leadership if they will not tell us the whole truth?