Delta has serious staff shortages. Telephone calls from their best customers are taking up to 41 hours to answer. Now it seems they can’t get anyone to clean their lounges, so they asked various work groups, including pilots, to volunteer as cleaners in Atlanta their Sky Club lounges in Atlanta.
While the airline is mostly non-union, it surprised me to see the call go out and include Delta’s unionized pilots.
It turns out, according to airline spokesperson Drake Castaneda, that this happened by mistake and “was corrected, as this was meant for salaried employees and not frontline employees as well.” He expanded,
Just as we’ve done for years with Peach Corps employee volunteers during our busiest travel seasons, we have asked Atlanta-based, salaried employees to volunteer in our Atlanta Delta Sky Clubs to help meet the rapid, recent increases in customer volumes and ensure that our teams continuously deliver the elevated Club experiences our customers have come to expect.
No matter where a Delta employee works – whether in the operation or at headquarters – one thing consistent among all Delta people is their willingness to lend a hand. It is part of Delta’s culture and is the Delta Difference.
The U.S. faces reported unemployment of around 6%, yet job growth last month was anemic. Unemployment pays more than during normal times. For families with children whose schools have been closed for in-person learning, taking a job means paying for child care. That has made matching unemployed workers with jobs difficult.
And while $79 billion in U.S. federal government support for the airlines was supposed to ‘keep them ready for when passengers want to fly’ it didn’t actually do this. Pilots didn’t keep current with takeoffs and landings, and airlines cut costs wherever possible, whether shedding staff through nominally voluntary buyouts or by cutting off contractors. And since Sky Club cleaners work airside, that means more vetting and time to gain badge access.
Delta Sky Club Austin
While it’s possible at some level for employers to pay more to attract employees, wages are sticky downward, and employers reluctant to pay more now and lock in higher wages – against temporary constraints that should resolve themselves by fall. And that’s even if they could afford to do so with modest margins or big losses.