Thursday, August 21, 2008

Delta and Northwest Airlines flight attendants campaign for joint union

Delta-NorthwestThe merger of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines is expected to go forward by the end of this year, or by early 2009 at latest. When that happens, the issue of union representation for the combined airline's flight attendants will have to be addressed.

Flight attendants at Delta Air Lines have never been represented by a collective bargaining unit. Northwest Airlines flight attendants currently are represented by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).

Earlier this year, there was an unsuccessful attempt to have AFA certified as the official collective bargaining unit for Delta's flight attendants. At that time, only 40% of eligible Delta flight attendants voted in the certification election. Even though a majority of those who voted cast ballots in favor of joining AFA, the election could not be certified because the turnout was lower than required by law. The union subsequently filed charges against Delta, alleging that the airline's management illegally interfered with the union representation election.

In the run-up to the merger, Northwest AFA union leaders are working to ensure that their right to bargain collectively with Delta management is retained through the merger process. The union also is continuing its effort to bring the protections afforded by a union contract to Delta flight attendants. To this end, a committee comprised of flight attendants from both Northwest and Delta has been formed to campaign for and organize AFA representation for the Delta and Northwest combined flight attendant group, post-merger.

The flight attendants' committee has developed an informational website in support of their campaign. The Delta and Northwest Flight Attendants' website, Two Traditions, One Global Airline, is worth a visit. It offers Videos, Webcasts, and clear explanations of flight attendants' legal rights regarding union representation.

Should the flight attendants of the "New Delta" succeed in their bid for union representation, they would become the largest unionized group of flight attendants in the country.