The International Transport Workers’ Federation is giving all possible backing to its American member union, The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which has filed for a union representation election for flight attendants at Delta Air Lines.
IAM has delivered signed election request cards to the US National Mediation Board (NMB) from nearly 12, 000 Delta Air Lines cabin crew.
An election victory for the more than 20, 000 flight attendants would be the largest ever transportation sector organising win and would round off more than two years of grassroots efforts by Delta flight attendants to gain union representation.
“This is a historic day for these courageous flight attendants, ” said IAM international president Tom Buffenbarger. “The IAM stands firmly behind the Delta flight attendants’ effort to win a strong voice in their profession and stability in a volatile industry.”
ITF general secretary Steve Cotton commented: “This is an exciting time for Delta flight attendants and an exciting time for the ITF. We look forward to welcoming Delta workers into the global ITF family. These men and women fly all over the world so it’s only right that they should be part of a union which is represented everywhere they land.
“We back IAM 100 percent in its quest to secure the best possible future for Delta flight attendants and ultimately to change the landscape of the US airline industry.”
ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “Global solidarity is a powerful force and something the ITF is able to offer Delta cabin crew in abundance. We’ll be standing right beside IAM until the last vote is cast in this election-and beyond.
“Delta talks about being a family, well the ITF is a family too and there’s no reason why you can’t be a member of both.”
The NMB is expected to order a representation election within four to six weeks of today’s filing. The 12, 000 election request cards represent approximately 60 percent of all Delta flight attendants, well above the NMB’s minimum requirement of 50 percent to hold an election.
“We are the reason Delta is the world’s most profitable carrier and leads the industry in almost every financial and operational measure, ” said Delta Air Lines flight attendant Gabe Perez. “Yet, we lag the industry in wages, benefits and work rules. That will change once we win our election and negotiate the industry-best contract we deserve.”
The IAM is the world’s largest airline union, representing approximately 100, 000 workers at nearly every US airline.