Know Your Rights
A common thing we hear from our coworkers when we ask them to sign union cards or help us collect cards from others is, “Nah man. You know I’m all about the union, but I can’t take the chance of getting fired. You know Delta hates the union.”
Here are some facts you need to know:
- If you sign a union card, the company will never see it. Once your card is sent in to the IAM, it is given to the National Mediation Board (NMB), a federal agency, when we file for an election. The NMB never shares this information with Delta.
- Your right to sign a card and support a union is absolute and is federally protected. Delta can get in a lot of trouble if they interfere with your rights.
- You also have a federally protected right to advocate for a union, collect cards and distribute union literature to your coworkers. These rights are outlined in Delta’s Advocacy Policy and the Railway Labor Act.
- There are some important limits for everyone engaged in advocating for a union to understand. You can ask someone to sign a union card in a break room, a time clock, bus stop, a locker room, parking lot, up in the terminal and when you are not actively engaged in work. Never ask someone to sign when you or the person you are asking to sign are on the ramp, in the bag room, on jet bridges or otherwise engaged in work.
- You can talk to your coworkers about the union any time, as you would talk about football, the weather or your family. You just can’t ask them to sign union cards or hand them union literature in work areas, during work time.
- If Delta tries to tell you differently, please fill out the interference form at iamdelta.net/online-intereference-report.
Why are Unionized Southwest, United, Alaska and American Workers Helping Us?
During the second week of January, dozens of unionized airline workers helped pro-union Delta workers knock on their coworkers’ doors in Atlanta to talk about why a union would benefit every Delta worker. Some of the people we talked to were curious as to why people who seemingly have no stake in this fight would be giving up their free time to help.
Put simply, the answer is solidarity. When a large carrier like Delta is non-union, it holds down the wages, benefits and working conditions of every other airline worker. Delta’s labor costs are significantly lower than those at unionized airlines. So, it benefits Delta workers to have the help of union airline workers to raise their standard of living by unionizing. It benefits union airline workers because if Delta becomes unionized it removes a serious downward pressure on the living standards of all airline workers.
Corporations Love Offering Profit Sharing As Much As We Enjoy Receiving It
- It serves as a motivator to increase productivity, which, in turn, increases profitability. This means workers are driven to perform to the best of their ability, and also push others to perform well.
- There’s no increased risk placed on the company by offering profit sharing. If the company isn’t profitable, there’s no financial obligation to be paid out. A company’s worst case scenario is that profits are massive, making the payout obligation higher, and that is a REALLY good problem to have.
- Corporations get to use profit sharing for publicity. It creates a “feel good” story when excessive profits are shared, boosting the company’s public image.
- Corporations benefit from offering profit sharing because they get to hit us with it over and over.
- Working short staffed? “Hey, that profit sharing will be nice!”
- Wages a little stagnant? “Hey, but how about that profit sharing come February.”
- Recognize the superior pay, benefits, work rules, insurance options at unionized carriers? “Yeah, but profit sharing!”
Delta likes offering profit sharing and we enjoy receiving it. The sharing of profit is mutually beneficial, and that explains why EVERY major airline union contract has secured it in a legally binding agreement. It’s a win-win for employees and companies alike!
The World’s Greatest employees need, and deserve, industry leading year-round benefits because, as one would expect, when operating expenses such as pay, benefits and work rules lag the industry, it naturally results in massively excessive profits. We deserve an industry leading contract 365 days a year, not just the one day when profits are labored from a “family” discount.
Work hard, know your worth, sign a card!
MLK March in ATL
As dozens of Delta workers, IAM airline workers and other members of the IAM walked down Peachtree Boulevard during the MLK March on Jan. 15, they began chanting, “Delta, Delta you can’t hide! We can see your greedy side!” Bystanders began joining in, the chant echoing off the buildings. It was an inspiring sight.
Many union members participate in this march every year. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a fierce advocate not just for the human rights of Black Americans, but for all working class people. He was assassinated in Memphis while defending the rights of Black sanitation workers trying to win a union. Once more, we have to ask that Delta Air Lines honor the full legacy of MLK, which includes union rights, by stopping their interference in our right to organize to be represented by the IAM. In this way, Delta management, you can fully embrace what MLK stood for.
Delta Workers Leave Money on the Table Compared to Southwest Workers
Here’s some language from the Southwest ramp union contract. Delta workers leave thousands of dollars on the table by not having a union contract.
If a Southwest worker doesn’t get lunch by the fourth hour of their full time shift, they get time and a half for a half hour of pay. If they don’t get their scheduled lunch once a week and they are making $30 an hour, they earn an extra $2,100 per year. If they don’t get a lunch at all during their shift, they get time and a half for a half hour plus two hours of pay. If that happens once a month and they make $30 an hour, that’s an extra $1,000 per year. Now add on much lower insurance costs and higher pay, along with profit sharing and a higher 401(k) match and you can see that the “Delta Dues” you pay for not having a union is enormous.
“Should an Employee not be scheduled a meal period during the fourth, fifth, or sixth hour, or in the middle two hours for shifts scheduled at least four and one half (4.5) hours but less than eight (8) hours, he will be paid time and one-half their hourly rate of pay for the thirty (30) minute meal period and will receive an uninterrupted meal period once the Employee has completed his immediate task and notified his supervisor. Should an Employee not be permitted a meal period at all, he will then be paid .5 hours overtime and two (2) hours straight time pay in addition to their regular pay.”