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Understand Your Worth

Why do we undervalue labor in our society? Why do we let the business casual folks who wear work boots for fashion, not safety, decide what we are worth? The white-collar world is flooded with articles telling them to ask for the raise and benefits they want and teaching them how to negotiate for it. Why are we denied that same opportunity?

Just a few years ago, we were deemed essential workers – a part of the foundation the world NEEDS to operate. While others were enjoying work-from-home situations, many of us worked straight through the pandemic, even when Delta reduced our hours by 25%. During that period, there seems to have been an awakening to the actual value we laborers provide and how little we are valued by the corporations that depend on our sweat to produce the billions in profit they crave.

Without labor, people could not travel by plane, no cars would be built, no nursing care for hospital patients, no produce would leave the farm, no one to teach our children, and no sanitation to keep our neighborhoods clean. Without us, the world grinds to a halt. Ask yourself, what happens if every executive disappears for a month? How long before anyone notices? What about station management? Does anything change?

(This is not an attack on management, as there are many I’m friends or friendly with. They are merely an example of how we are undervalued.)

It’s time for US ALL to understand our worth and demand it be recognized. If you’ve signed a card, talk to your co-workers and encourage them to sign one for themselves. If you haven’t signed one yet, find someone at your station who is collecting or request one from the IAM Delta site at iamdelta.net.

A victory for Delta workers is a win for workers everywhere and will only encourage others to stand together in solidarity!

Safety/Staffing #1

So about 13:40 today we have six flights on the ground: an E175, 737-800, 321 neo, (2) 757-300, A350-900. Our staffing was extremely slim today on the ramp. No bag runners and we only had four people in our bagroom. Our belt was at max capacity and the ramp is going one flight after another. When the guys who are on overtime come in we were told by other agents that our management was having a meeting about cutting overtime! Make it make sense. You have to wear your bump cap to prevent OJI but working this short handed is not an OJI issue?! It’s frustrating seeing my fellow coworkers completely exhausted and rundown and all they care about is cutting dollars to save pennies. It has been like this since last Friday! This shows that the staffing model they use in ATL corporate is extremely flawed.

Safety/Staffing #2

When it comes to safety, Delta has determined some elements that they feel are vital to our well-being. For example, don’t walk between carts, always wear a bump cap, drive within the roadway, etc. Question: Would “staffing” fall in the category of creating a safe work environment?

I ask because far too often, we hear excuses that permit short staffing, yet never allow excuses for the other safety items mentioned above. It’s not uncommon to hear monetary reasons for allowing short staffing. “We’re over budget for the quarter, so we’re not keeping overtime today.” Or, “we’re keeping overtime today, but no double-time.” What!?

Management’s commitment to maintaining appropriate staffing levels should align with their dedication to other safety measures. If their lack of preparation results in staffing overtime, double-time or even quadruple-time, it should be an action they’re willing to take ensuring each of us a safe work environment, even if it happens to result in opening the checkbook.

Pilot Unions are Going to the Bank

Pilots at Southwest Airlines have reached an agreement in principle with the company for a new five-year contract worth $12 billion, the union said on Tuesday. Pilots at United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have all secured hefty pay raises and improvements in working conditions in new contracts.

Delta’s Insurance Makes Me Sick

Let’s be honest, Delta’s health insurance leaves a lot to be desired. First of all, the three plans that Delta offers through United Healthcare are not as comprehensive as they could be when compared to other airlines. For example, United Airlines has ten different insurance plans to choose from, so you can find some that fit you and your dependents’ needs as closely as possible.

Let’s look at two comparable plans for full-time employees, one from Delta and one from Southwest. Delta’s plan is the “Copay Option” which is not eligible for Delta Health Rewards or Health Savings Account (HSA) Funding. It has the highest monthly premium, ranging from $153 for an individual, $268 for employee+children, $329 for employee+spouse, and $444 for a family. Over a year, that equals $1,836, $3,216, $3,948, and $5,328, respectively – in premiums alone. (There goes your profit sharing). With that plan comes the lowest deductibles offered by Delta at $500 for an individual, $1,000 for an individual with children, and $1,500 for a family. This plan also has the lowest coinsurance maximum, ranging from $2,000 for an individual to $6,000 for a family. This plan culminates with an out-of-pocket max between $2,500 and $7,500 depending on who is covered.

Southwest, on the other hand, offers only one plan that isn’t eligible for an HSA, called the “Regular Plan,” which is the one we are going to compare the “Copay Option” with. On the surface, they look very similar, with an out-of-pocket max of $2,500 and a 20%/80% split just like in Delta’s “Copay Option”: the employee is responsible for 20% of the cost and the company, 80% until you hit your out-of-pocket max. But the similarities quickly stop upon further inspection.

The “Regular Plan” has a lower individual and family deductible at $200 and $300, respectively. Where Southwest’s “Regular Plan” pulls out in front is with its monthly premium, which is the same for an individual employee as it is for one with a family. The monthly cost to the employee is $0.00.

That’s right, for a plan that looks similar to the “best” Delta offers, a full-time Southwest employee pays nothing! It is all covered by the company. 

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