IAM organizers cite involvement by Flight Simulator Technicians at Delta Air Lines for the government’s decision to order a new round of voting after the group fell short in a representation election held earlier this year.
Union elections for air and rail workers are conducted by the National Mediation Board (NMB), which also investigates allegations of interference, but rarely overturns election results.
With evidence collected by Sim Techs in Minneapolis and Atlanta, the IAM filed an appeal with the NMB, claiming that Delta violated election rules by promising pay raises for non-union employees and holding coercive one-on-one meetings with employees.
NMB rules specifically state: “No carrier, its officers, or agents shall deny or in any way question the right of its employees to join, organize, or assist in organizing the labor organization of their choice, and it shall be unlawful for any carrier to interfere in any way with the organization of its employees . . .”
The Board attached considerable weight to the testimony of many Sim Techs who stated that Delta’s announcement of a pending pay increase impacted how they voted.
The IAM also charged that Delta violated NMB guidelines by promising to favorably adjust employee work schedules; conducting illegal surveillance of Sim Tech employees; misstating Board rules; denying lawful access to union representatives and permitting the distribution of a petition in an effort to prevent an election.
After a five-month investigation that included 20 interviews with Simulator Technicians, IAM representatives and management officials, the NMB ruled unanimously on August 10, 2010 that the conditions for a fair election had been tainted by Delta’s actions.
“The right to vote without interference may be protected by law, but it takes people like the Sim Techs at Delta to ensure it’s more than just words on paper,” said IAM Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “Every union member owes them a debt of gratitude for defending a right that belongs to us all.”
In addition to its efforts among the Sim Tech group, Delta is currently waging aggressive campaigns against organizing efforts by thousands of Delta employees in a half dozen different classifications.