IAM, IBT, AFA-CWA rally at shareholder meeting to end Delta Air Lines’ union busting (goiam.org)

June 19, 2023

IAM, IBT, AFA-CWA Rally at Shareholder Meeting to End Delta Air Lines’ Union Busting

Delta Air Lines workers, alongside their union allies, recently attended the company’s shareholder meeting in Manhattan, to demand Delta management commit to International Labour Organization (ILO) standards on freedom of association and neutrality in union organizing campaigns.

Watch the livestream of the rally here.

There are 45,000 Delta employees actively organizing to join unions. Mechanics and related workers are organizing to join the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; ramp, cargo, and tower workers are seeking to join the IAM; and Delta flight attendants are organizing for representation with the Association of Flight Attendants.

“Our request to the Delta shareholders is simple,” said IAM Air Transport Territory General Vice President Richie Johnsen. “We respectfully ask Delta to commit to International Labour Organization standards on the freedom of association and neutrality in union organizing campaigns. The IAM has witnessed Delta Air Lines using resources to engage in anti-union activity to discourage employees from joining together. Delta workers have been subject to constant union-busting propaganda, management surveillance of union activities, and the unjust targeting and discipline of pro-union workers. Delta employees, who are responsible for the airline’s huge profits, deserve industry-leading wages and benefits to match the high-quality customer service provided. Delta shareholders should do the right thing by passing this proposal to give employees the freedom to determine their own future.”    

“Delta Air Lines needs to stop acting like a schoolyard bully and give its workers the respect that they deserve,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “This means no longer forcing mechanics to sit through anti-union propaganda meetings full of lies and cheap scare tactics. Every other major passenger carrier has a freedom of association policy for its workforce. It’s past time this company got with the program.”

“Workers are very accustomed to Delta management saying they respect their employees’ rights and then spending millions of dollars to interfere with those rights,” stated Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “But now their true position is on the record for the world to see. Delta pushed hard to stop a policy that would simply echo the basic rights of workers enshrined in international labor law. They aren’t just on record opposing U.S. labor law – they are telling the world, as a worldwide airline – that their position with their own employees is that there is no freedom or respect for individuals at Delta. The workers at Delta won’t let the corporate leaders who come and go with their millions define who the airline really is. The workers are organizing to make sure their airline operates with open arms to the world and respect for everyone in it.”

Institutional Shareholder Services, the largest proxy advisory firm in the world, advised Delta shareholders to vote in favor of the proposal, which was filed by long-term investors at the company. Freedom of Association policies are in place at the other three largest commercial carriers in the U.S.— Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines. 

Delta Air Lines management has threatened employees with termination for union activities and continues to host an anti-union website and distribute literature that threatens workers that are seeking to organize. Delta also spent approximately $38 million to oppose a flight attendant union campaign in 2010. Its anti-union activities have caused brand damage, including broad media coverage of a 2019 anti-union flier that told employees to spend money on video games instead of union dues. 

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