For Immediate Release: September 12, 2008
Contact: Darlene Dobbs – 202-434-0584
Flight Attendants Take Election Violations Global
Washington, DC – The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) today urged the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to encourage Delta Air Lines to reform its labor practices and fully respect workers’ rights to organize. Earlier this year, Delta violated the right for its flight attendants to organize, directly contradicting Article IV.1 (a) of OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises regarding cooperation with employees and facilitation of collective bargaining.
The OECD is an International organization that brings together the governments of countries committed to democracy and the market economy from around the world to maintain financial stability, contribute to growth in world trade, and boost employment. The OECD has developed a set of Guidelines that provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a variety of areas including employment and industrial relations, human rights and information disclosure.
“The Guidelines provide that multinational enterprises such as Delta should respect the right of their employees to form trade unions,” stated the AFA-CWA letter. “Delta violated this principle by deploying an aggressive campaign to prevent its employees from freely selecting union representation. Delta’s campaign was calculated to suppress voter turnout in the union election through a variety of means, including flooding flight attendants with pervasive anti-union messages, instructing flight attendants to destroy balloting instructions, harassing union supporters, interfering with pro-union communications among its employees, and providing benefits timed specifically to undermine union support.”
Delta’s previous actions are of particular importance as the airline is currently proposing to merge with Northwest Airlines, whose 8,600 flight attendants are presently represented by AFA-CWA. If Delta continues to interfere with its employees’ right to organize in defiance of OECD Guidelines, flight attendants at Northwest could also lose their union representation in a post-merger union election. The domestic agency charged with protecting the right of flight attendants to organize, the National Mediation Board (NMB), has repeatedly denied requests to prevent and remedy the company’s anti-union tactics. Earlier this week, AFA-CWA urged Congress to conduct public hearings into the NMB’s failure to protect Delta flight attendants’ rights to organize unions and engage in free and fair collective bargaining.
“As Delta prepares to merge with Northwest to form the largest global airline based in the United States, it is more important than ever that it abide by the good practices reflected in the Guidelines. Freedom from employer interference is a core element of the right to organize and must be protected,” added AFA-CWA.
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.