The National Education Association, the teachers’ union, is threatening a boycott of Delta. Their President has sent a letter to Delta President Glen Hauenstein, and they’ve tweeted “We won’t be flying Delta.”
— NEA (@NEAToday) May 11, 2019
The issue here is union solidarity. While most of the US airline industry is unionized, only pilots and dispatchers are members of unions at Delta. The IAM, however, is attempting to organize flight attendants and fleet service workers.
The world started to notice that much of Delta is non-union when the airline’s campaign against the effort went viral last week thanks to extremely ham-handed messaging suggesting that employees should buy videogames instead of paying union dues.
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Personally I don't take sides in this argument. But… @delta clearly knows nothing about the known dangers of @fortnite addiction. Truly a debilitating condition. In countless double-blinded studies, it has been shown that for many, Fortnite and other games DO help many people overcome things like having to socialize, maintain personal hygiene, and be contributing members of society, but they should ONLY be played and used under the careful supervision of an experienced and trained professional gamer. Certainly not an airline…. #atc #flying #squawkdirtytome #delta #Fortnite
If I were a flight attendant at United or American I’d likely be reluctant to give up my union. At Delta, on the other hand, they’re already the highest paid in the industry thanks to profit sharing, which is in part dependent on the airline’s culture and work rules. Delta has a strong argument to make, but was very much not making it.
Enter the 3 million member NEA, which purports to be interested not in their own financial well-being but to speak on behalf of “they students they serve” and which is concerned that Delta has made a “decision to undermine [their] union.” If they were grading their own letter as coursework they’d have to mark themselves down for failing to realize that the union at issue is not Delta’s union, and does not currently represent Delta’s flight attendants or fleet service workers.
The NEA calls efforts (no matter how ham-handed) to discourage employees from joining a union “union busting” which conjures images of violence or at least hiring replacement workers rather than communicating in writing why the company believes it and its employees are better off without a union.
Pinkerton guards escort strikebreakers in Buchtel, Ohio, 1884
Considering that the NEA considers Delta’s flyers to be “a blatant slap in the face of working people across the nation” what exactly are they doing about it?
Things they are not doing:
- Refusing to allow NEA staff travel on Delta
- Encouraging teachers not to fly Delta
- Pressuring school districts not to use Delta for school trips
- Asking parents not to fly Delta
Instead the NEA has declared that Delta will no longer be “one of the preferred airlines” for travel to the NEA’s Representative Assembly “with over 8000 delegates.” Delta will not be an official meeting vendor for an event.
Delta earned $5.1 billion in 2018. Delta themselves chose not to accept meetings business from the NRA. The NEA’s milquetoast move will not make a material difference to Delta.
Delta is reaching out to the NRA to let them know we will be ending their contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from their website.
— Delta (@Delta) February 24, 2018
It appears, then, that the NEA is looking for publicity without the attendant cost of taking real action. Here’s the NEA’s letter to Delta: