FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: COFFEE, TEA OR MILK BUT NO UNIONS!!!
Big Labor lost its second election of the week on Wednesday when Delta Air Lines flight attendants rejected an offer to unionize. You can’t say the Obama Administration didn’t try to help.
In May, the National Mediation Board rejiggered a 75-year-old interpretation of the Railway Labor Act in order to require a smaller percentage of workers to organize a workplace. Now, aviation and railway workers who don’t vote in an election are no longer counted as part of the overall work force from which unions must muster a majority.
President Obama’s appointees to the three-member mediation panel are the former president of the Association of Flight Attendants and the president of a pilot’s union, and they expected that after a 2008 merger with the more unionized Northwest, Delta’s flight attendants would be easy organizing targets. Instead, Northwest flight attendants will now leave the union.
Having lost even with a stacked deck, the Association of Flight Attendants is now blaming “unprecedented” intimidation of workers by Delta. According to Northwest union officer Daniel Grey, the company’s nefarious tactics included computerized pop-up reminders to employees to vote. “It’s not meant to be innocuous. It’s meant to say, ‘Vote against the union,”‘ he told AP. The AFA has asked for a re-vote and a federal investigation by, you guessed it, the National Mediation Board.
Delta workers had also rejected unionization in 2002 and 2008. This time workers had the additional benefit of side-by-side comparison of what union membership has to offer. Of the airline’s 20,000-odd flight attendants, some 7,000 came from Northwest. Delta’s flight attendants are paid more than their unionized counterparts, and few apparently bought the line that other benefits of unionizing make up for the difference. The rejection even when the rules are rigged in favor of unions should send a message that the real problem is what unions are offering.
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