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Aren’t We Part Of The Family?

For those not on Delta Workers Unite Facebook page, notice the contrast by Delta executives who throw us caution about unionizing …then they’re extremely willing to work with unionized pilots.

Delta’s tone was full of hope and determination in ensuring a mutually agreeable pay raise was negotiated and accepted by our unionized counterparts. 

Delta’s statement read: “As you may have heard, the Delta pilots voted not to ratify the tentative agreement. We respect their decision and believe the strong relationship we’ve enjoyed over the years will continue. Delta will be evaluating its next step in the process. As we have said previously, Delta regularly reviews the compensation of all employee workgroups, and that process will continue.” 

You’ll notice the pilots have since received substantial pay increases–18% in the first year and 17% toward 401(k) plans. Why the prolonged delay for non-union employees? There’s simply no excuse. The time has come to unionize and bring Delta to the table in addressing a very substantial pay raise for the rest of Delta’s currently unrepresented employees. Delta, aren’t we part of the “family?”

Thirty Feet

On Oct. 24 at 3 p.m., two crews at the end of MSP’s G concourse were loading outbounds in the midst of a thunderstorm when a lightning strike hit between the two gates, 30 feet from everyone. 

When we radioed to ask if the ramp was still open, we were told it was. Only after the entire concourse felt unsafe and stood together (we all took a safety time-out) did they close the ramp. After the ramp opened, it was announced that both planes were taken out of service due to lightning strikes. 

At sporting events, when there is lightning in the vicinity, play is halted, and athletes and fans alike are told to seek shelter. Shouldn’t the same precautions be taken for Delta’s “industrial athletes?”

When management was asked how this happened, the response given was “our systems failed.” When systems fail on the ramp, bags miss connections or planes go out late. Our lives should not be at risk due to a system failure! We have all had to work in thunderstorms with strikes that may have been “too close for comfort.”

In a union after an event like this, swift action is taken to prevent it from happening again. Safety committees made of actual workers decide how to avoid it, not the shoulder shrugs from management we are currently receiving… 

Overtime Pay On Holidays

If you work on a holiday at unionized carriers, you receive double time and a half. If you make $20 an hour and work all holidays, you would receive $800 more in a year than a similar Delta employee who only receives double time for working a holiday.

Off Schedule Lunch

If you work for a union carrier and you don’t get a scheduled lunch between the third and fifth hour of your shift (full-time employee) you receive an extra half hour of pay. If you make $20 an hour and get an off schedule lunch three times a week, that would amount to around $1,500 a year in extra pay. That’s pay that as a Delta worker, you don’t get.

Quick Hour  

An inbound is coming in a little late and your supervisor asks you to stay 15 minutes past your shift to finish dumping it. At Delta, you get 15 minutes extra pay. At unionized United, you get a full hour of pay even though you only worked 15 minutes. For the Delta worker making $20 an hour, that’s $5. For the United worker, that’s $20. That adds up in a year.

Sick Time

At United Airlines, you accrue eight hours of sick time for every month you work up to a max of 1,200 hours accrued. This is in addition to on the job injury (OJI) time and personal time. At Delta, you get no sick time and no OJI time, only PPT that you must accrue by actual hours worked. This means that you may come up with less PPT time than you expected.

What Happens After We Win?

It’s the week after we win a union for ramp, cargo and tower workers. What happens next? First, there are elections for union reps across the system. People put in their names for steward positions, shop committee and general chairpeople. In all 47 stations where Delta has either Department 120, 118 or 807, elections are held. 

Elections are also held for contract proposal convention delegates. These are the reps you elect to bring your negotiating priorities to a convention. At this convention, priorities to negotiate with Delta are hammered out. Next, you elect which of your coworkers you want to represent you at negotiations. Then negotiation sessions are scheduled.

Arriving at a signed contract in 2022 at Alaska Airlines took one month. It took 12 months at Hawaiian and 14 months at United. Substantial gains were made at all three carriers with each contract leapfrogging the previous one. 

One question that has come up – could we end up losing things we have right now before we have a signed contract? No is the short answer. Could we lose things in negotiations and go backward? No. 

Any contract has to be voted on and approved by the members. It’s impossible to imagine Delta workers voting to screw themselves. Can union reps file grievances and represent us even before we have a signed contract? Yes. What we have right now becomes the contract until we have a new one.     

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