For Immediate Release: May 8, 2008
Contact: Corey Caldwell 202-434-0586
Flight Attendants Testify: Without Unions Delta/Northwest Merger Poses Threat To Middle Class Jobs
Washington, DC – Yesterday before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) testified that the potential merger between Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines could have devastating effects that reach far beyond economic concerns. The proposed merger threatens to initiate the unraveling of the entire industry, destroying middle class jobs in the process.
“As we stand at the edge of a great change in this industry, it is important that we begin the debate, discussion and dialogue on what kind of national aviation system we want.” said AFA-CWA International President Patricia Friend. “This country has lacked a rational aviation policy since deregulation and our industry is being driven by the marketplace, leaving virtually no protections for airline workers. Delta management is trying to destroy the few protections employees do have through their collective bargaining agreements by using this merger as an opportunity to destroy unions. If management is successful, they will have the ability to remake the entire airline industry and destroy airline jobs as a stable and secure middle class career once and for all.”
Delta flight attendants are in the midst of a representation election, seeking to make AFA-CWA their union and gain a voice at the bargaining table. Since the polls opened on April 23, Delta executives have directed a coercive campaign to interfere with the flight attendants’ right to freely select a bargaining representative. They have flooded flight attendants with mountains of literature, wallpapered crew lounges with anti-union posters and are attempting to suppress the vote by through misinformation and intimidation. Management is not only using this merger as an opportunity to prevent thousands of non-union Delta employees from gaining a voice, but also setting the stage to eliminate the unions and their contracts for workers at Northwest.
“If management is successful in their goal to destroy unions, it could create a domino effect that will force even unionized carriers to match drastic cuts in order to compete. They will set industry standards back to levels we have not seen in decades. Management continues to offer their commitment to protecting the future of flight attendants, but there is a distinct and vast difference between a commitment and a contract. Non-union employees rely on a commitment that can change instantly where as union employees have commitments in writing,” said Friend.
Polls for the AFA-CWA representation election will close at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 28, 2008.
For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill. More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world’s largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org.