Delta Gives Non-Union Employees Big Raise For Labor Day

Yesterday I shared a leaked Delta memo showing that the airline would be giving 4% raises to flight attendants and ground employees. In addition the airline said employees could expect bigger bonuses. That’s big news this Labor Day weekend.

Naturally the airline’s union employees, such as their pilots, don’t participate in the pay increase. Their wages are determined by collective bargaining.

The authenticity of the memo was being called into question in some quarters because another (obviously fake) memo was circulating earlier in the week promising 9% raises.

The fact that there was a bogus memo out there made me begin to question what seemed to be the legitimate one. However several employee sources confirmed that the leaked pay increase memo was real, and now official Delta sources have as well.

Here’s the memo:


This is big news because other flight attendants are going to look to this increase and demand more from their own U.S. airlines. Southwest, for instance, is offering union flight attendants a 3% raise. American’s mechanics, who have been unable to come to terms on a new contract, may become more intransigent.

It’s also a demonstration to Delta’s employees that they do better without a union, or at least that a union isn’t likely to drive better pay. The airline is paying them more not because of a threat of a strike but because employees are contributing to the airline’s profitability. Union work rules, and union expenses, risk dragging down employee compensation.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. OSHA safety rules, Child Labor Laws, Sick Days, Vacations, Overtime and more are the direct result of union’s past actions. Delta isn’t paying their employees a share of the stockholders profits because of their gratitude for a job well done. They are paying them because unions do exist and and it’s in the shareholder’s best interest that their workers don’t unionize. Eliminate unions from the airlines scene entirely and this would happen. (I’ve never been in a union but I have greatly benefited from their existence, as has every other American worker)

  2. The headline of your post is misleading. 90% of Delta’s employees are non-union. Unions are not the airline’s problems, management is! Southwest is 90+% unionized, they do not have the issues of American. Let’s be real here, Parker and Munoz are the problem. They just do not know how to lead.

  3. If unions were actually beneficial for employees, they would not have to worry about using secret ballots. Union fat cats get fatter by coercing hard-working employees into unionizing. They should have put an end to this union-election scam decades ago.

  4. It strikes me as odd that some people post anti-organized-labor stuff on Labor Day Weekend.

    Anyone who wants to go back to pre-union days (*caveat: I do not work for a large company, nor am I a member of any union) ought to read “The Good Old Days: They Were Terrible!” by Otto Bettmann or “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair before they start trash-talking union labor.

  5. I don’t get this anti-union talking point. Delta is doing this exactly because unionizationn is a “threat” to the bosses. Without the pressure from the possibility of unionization, Delta will be much less likely to give a damn.

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