Workers, unions rally for Delta unionization effort
Atlanta, GA – Over 100 Delta employees, trade unionists and community supporters rallied at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport May 25 to show support for the ongoing unionization effort at Delta Air Lines.
The organizing drive at Delta is a joint effort between three unions: the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), International Association of Machinists (IAM) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). The three unions are seeking to organize Delta flight attendants, baggage handlers and mechanics respectively.
“Atlanta, we’ve got your back because you’re organizing to bring power to the community, power to the people right here!” said Sara Nelson, international president of the AFA. “We’re here to stay, we’re going to make sure we are strong today, tomorrow and in the future,” Nelson continued.
This three-pronged approach to unionizing is a first in the history of attempts to organize Delta workers. Through union-busting tactics and intimidation, Delta has been able to prevent a majority of its employees from unionizing. The only workers at Delta who are currently organized are its pilots.
Many of those in attendance at the rally were workers who were already unionized. Elizabeth Laster, a part-time worker at UPS, said, “I wanted to show solidarity for the blue-collar workers fighting for their first contract. We are all in this together.” UPS is represented by the Teamsters, one of the unions working to organize Delta.
The AFA has attempted to organize flight attendants at Delta three times in the past.
“Unionizing is incredibly important for flight attendants. It gives us the strength of numbers to negotiate for better pay, benefits and working conditions,” said Iana Edwards, a former Delta flight attendant. “Joining a union provides job security, addresses safety concerns and creates a supportive community. It empowers flight attendants to have a voice, representation and the ability to make positive changes in work life balance,” Edwards continued. Edwards had worked as a Delta flight attendant for seven years and supported the previous organizing drives.
Over 45,000 employees could become unionized if the three unions are successful.