The airline is accused of surveilling employees involved in union activities and targeted dismissals of union activists. In addition, marking the latest in a long series of anti-union incidents, Delta has begun displaying posters in its workplaces across the country attacking workers’ ongoing attempts to win union representation. The posters compared the cost of union membership to other possible uses of employee income, suggesting money would be better spent playing video games than negotiating fair pay and working conditions.
IAM has filed charges of union election interference with the US National Mediation Board, the government body that oversees industrial relations in the aviation sector. While the Board usually waits until after a union election to investigate employer misconduct, IAM argues that this case represents exceptional circumstances under the Board’s rules and merits an investigation now.
Delta’s attack on labour rights closely follows the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) stepping up its global support for the campaign. Last week, ITF wrote to all its affiliates across 147 countries asking them to support the Delta workers in asserting their fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Over the coming weeks, fellow aviation workers from other airlines will be meeting Delta crew on their international layovers to express solidarity in their struggle for union representation.
Joseph Tiberi, IAM chief of staff and ITF civil aviation chair, said: “Delta’s interference in a free and fair union election is totally unacceptable. Workers should be able to choose whether or not they want union representation without intimidation by their employer.”
“IAM stands in solidarity with the Delta crew and is calling on the national authorities to investigate the company’s misconduct. Transport workers have overcome these sort of underhanded tactics before, and they will do so again.”