Profit Sharing Celebration?
On Jan. 12, the 2023 profit sharing will be announced, rewarding hardworking Delta employees for catapulting Delta into a more profitable 2023 than they could have expected. Mid-year figures stated a revenue growth of 20% over 2022, even though the 2022 fiscal year was the sixth most profitable year in Delta’s history.
But before we celebrate too much, a re-alignment of realities and perceptions is in order. Throughout a given year, Delta workers are either missing out on compensation like pay, higher insurance premiums/out-of-pocket maximums, or even signing bonuses at the start of new contracts. Those losses can total two or three times the profit sharing we receive simply because we are not unionized.
Let’s look at some examples, one for each end of the pay scale:
In the first example, the new Delta employees’ profit sharing take home after being taxed at 38% is $1,180 if we use 2022’s formula. A newly hired Delta employee, when compared to the total compensation against a newly hired United employee is falling behind on day one. In the first year alone the United employee will make $3,889 more. Now add in United’s pension and 401(k) with a 4% match and the gap between employees widens. Say the United employee utilizes the 4% match then their total retirement compensations for that first year will total $7,281.60, $3,080 into their 401(k) and $4,201.60 into their pension. Both vacations and time off policies are about negligible in the first year, but the United employee pulls away again because if the United employee decided to not directly contribute to the 401(k) then $1,540 would go back into their paycheck.
Comparing the hourly wages from the Southwest Airlines Tentative Agreement, a near-top-of-scale Delta employee is being paid $10,300 less than their Southwest peers. Add on to that the extra $5,328 a Delta employee would pay in yearly premiums to put their family on the “best” health insurance plan provided by Delta when there is a Southwest plan that is near identical in deductible, out-of-pocket max, as well as things like ER visits, that costs their employees NOTHING. When you combine the lesser pay plus higher premiums, they are losing $15,628 per year! That doesn’t even add in their retirement, which is a 9.3% match compared to our 6%.
Door Knock in ATL
If you work the ramp, cargo or tower in ATL, it’s quite likely that a coworker or fellow airline worker will be coming to your door to talk about the union between Jan. 10 and Jan. 17. We come to people’s doors because quite often people feel more comfortable talking about the union and signing a union card away from work.
As we all experience on a daily basis, Delta is extremely hostile to the union idea. If Delta would stop their anti-union campaign, there would be no need for house calls. In addition, Delta knows that house calls are very effective. An overwhelming majority of everyone we talk to at the door signs a card. This is why they scream about them the way they do. If you would like to opt-out of someone coming to your door, please use this link to let us know. Then we can know not to come.
Guess what? Delta ramp and above wing workers in Canada are union. Guess what else… Flight Benefits are in the contract (Article 18). And one more thing… with a union they were just able to negotiate a union contract that makes them the industry leader for airlines in Canada.
Please send us your stories about Sedgwick. Everyday we hear about how Sedgwick tries to force employees back to work when they are still injured or give them insufficient settlements.
According to injury attorneys Miller and Zois, “Sedgwick tends to take their stance on claims based entirely on directions from their client. They typically have very little discretion or authority to resolve claims on their own. This means that in some cases Sedgwick may be very difficult and aggressive and in other cases they may be very reasonable. It all depends on what instructions they are getting from their client.”
This means that Sedgwick acts on orders that Delta Air Lines gives them. It means that the aggressive stance they take with Delta workers comes directly from Delta corporate.
One of the hidden benefits of having a union is that union reps are trained to handle third party claims administrators like Sedgwick and can guide you through the injury process and if you need a lawyer, they can work closely with the lawyer to assure the best outcome possible.
Rules of the Road
Rules of the Road are the guiding principles laid out by Delta defining the way they conduct business. They’re actually an excellent set of guidelines. Have you read them? For example, (3J) in Rules of the Road reads; “No ‘pocket vetoes’ — do not undermine, ignore or simply override final decisions or the will of a much larger group just because you can.”
How can anyone argue with guiding principles like this? While they sound great, the glaring problem with Rules of the Road is that it’s simply a set of “guidelines.” Neither us, nor a neutral party, gets to enforce or interpret “guidelines.” Further, guidelines like this are implemented from the top-down and are solely interpreted to Delta’s liking. Imagine if Delta’s “guidelines” were applied to the massively overwhelming negative view of bump caps? Plain and simple, we wouldn’t be wearing them.
As good as Rules of the Road may sound, a much better way of conducting business is through a mutually agreed upon union contract. Union contracts allow both management and employees to write out, then mutually agree upon principles and guidelines that work for everyone. Union contracts are not only enforced by management, but employees (union members), too!
Got Sick Time?
Here is the contract language from the IAM ramp contracts for United and American. One more thing that union airline workers have and you don’t – sick time. One more example of what we all pay in “Delta Dues.”
“Active full-time employees will accrue paid sick leave of 8 hours per month of paid status, up to a maximum sick leave bank of 1200 hours.” This total can be built up through hours worked, rolling over sick time year over year, or even converting unused vacation time from the previous year into sick time. – IAM/United Airlines Article 6, Section B
“Employees earn sick leave hours per calendar month up to a maximum of 80 sick leave hours per year for full time employees and 50 sick leave hours per year for part time employees. There will be a maximum accrual cap of 1,600 hours in an employee’s sick leave bank.” “Full time employees accrue 8 hours of sick leave for each month whether working a 5 day, or a 4 day workweek and regardless of the shift length. Part time employees accrue 5 hours of sick leave for each month, regardless of the shift length or number of days scheduled in the workweek.” – IAM/American Airlines Contract Article 24, Section A
You may have noticed that we just started up a new pro-union podcast for Delta workers. Click here to see the first episode. We will be putting this out every two weeks. The next one we produce will feature a Q&A with union reps from American and United. They’ll be answering questions from Delta workers about situations we face everyday and how a union might help in those situations.