Will Delta listen? Lawmakers plead for neutrality in worker unionization

Over 140 Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have requested Delta Air Lines to adopt a neutral stance in the ongoing efforts by its employees to form a union among flight attendants and ground workers. Various unions are attempting to organize Delta's technicians, ramp, cargo, and tower workers, and flight attendants. 


The lawmakers, including Representatives Donald Norcross, Debbie Dingell, Frank Pallone, Mark Pocan, Rosa DeLauro, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wrote a letter to Delta's CEO, Ed Bastian, citing the airline's history of using tactics to prevent unionization. These tactics include threatening employees with loss of benefits, distributing anti-union information, and creating anti-union websites. The lawmakers stated that a neutrality agreement would just require employers to refrain from pre-election activities that may influence workers' freedom to form a union. 

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Delta responded by saying that it believes in the right of every employee to choose or reject union representation without interference. It added that it also has the right and responsibility to ensure its employees can make their decisions with an informed perspective. Delta stated that its employees have consistently declined union representation over the past two decades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Association of Flight Attendants, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers announced a coordinated campaign in November 2022 to organize 45,000 Delta employees. 

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Union officials informed Reuters that employees are currently authorizing union cards. Once a majority of workers have done so, airline unions can file for a representation election with the National Mediation Board. Delta's pilots are already represented by the Air Line Pilots Association. Last month, a group of 33 senators requested Tesla and 12 other automakers to remain neutral in the United Auto Workers' ongoing efforts to organize U.S. auto plants and to pledge not to interfere in any organizing activities.

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