|Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis urges Delta employees to vote “Yes” at Atlanta’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Center|
With voting underway for 14,500 Fleet Service employees at Delta Air Lines, workers in six major cities held “Vote YES! to Lift Us All” rallies to remind their communities and their fellow workers of the critical issues at stake in the election.
“The consolidation that is sweeping the airline industry today could be the most serious threat to airline employees since deregulation began reshaping the industry,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “It is up to airline workers to find a way to protect their jobs, their families and their communities. And the single best way to do that is with a contract that secures their rights in writing.”
In addition to a kick-off event in New York City, “Vote YES!” rallies were held in Memphis, TN; Atlanta, GA; Detroit, MI; Cincinnati, OH and Minneapolis, MN.
The campaign to protect workers at Delta began in the wake of the 2008 merger of Delta and Northwest Airlines. Despite assurances from senior executives that front-line employees would not suffer as a result of the merger, workers at both carriers have seen management’s verbal assurances dissolve without notice.
“Delta and its anti-union consultants are trying very hard to convince employees to forget about the bankruptcies, the layoffs and the outsourcing that have destroyed tens of thousands of good airline jobs,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger, who cited examples of how contracts protect employees. “The IAM contract at Northwest was directly responsible for guaranteeing jobs in 40 locations in spite of management’s attempt to outsource work, saving thousands of jobs.”
District 143 President Stephen Gordon joined Buffenbarger and Roach at the “Vote YES!” rallies and urged Delta workers to vote as soon as their voting instructions arrive. “This is one of the first representation elections to be held under the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) new and more democratic voting guidelines,” said Gordon. “It is an extraordinary opportunity for Delta workers to stand up for themselves with a voice and rights of their own.”
In addition to the representation election for Delta’s Fleet Service workers, the NMB has scheduled elections for employees in the Passenger Service and Stock and Stores classifications. Information about all IAM elections at Delta can be found at www.iam4delta.org.