Delta Announces It Will Pay Flight Attendants During Boarding Amid Union Push

In a major win for unionizing flight attendants, Delta Air Lines announced on Monday that it will begin paying its flight attendants during boarding as the company faces a renewed union drive backed by the largest flight attendants’ union in the country.

This is a first for major U.S. airlines; U.S. carriers typically do this. don’t pay their flight attendantsDuring boarding, attendants will be working for free until the plane door closes. The new pay will start on June 2Although attendants will still be paid half their hourly rate, they will be compensated.

The airline will also increase its domestic boarding time from 35 minutes to 40 minutes for narrow-body flights, which the company says is to “add resiliency to our operation.”

The flight attendants’ union, organized by Delta workers seeking representation from the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), took credit for the pay change, saying in a statement that it is “the direct result of our organizing — and a desperate attempt to prevent their other new boarding policy from creating the kind of anger that it deserves,” referring to the expanded boarding times.

“As we get closer to filing for our union vote, management is getting nervous,” the union continued. “But this also shows that Delta could have been paying Flight Attendants for boarding all along. And while this is a positive change, Flight Attendants are still being forced to fly more often thanks to short staffing.”

Delta also announced a raiseAn earlier version of this year was 4 percent for its employees. is less thanThe inflation rate was 7.5% last year. This is their first raise since 2019. Increased number of unruly passengersThroughout the pandemic.

Delta AFA is in the midst organizing since 2019. Delta workers are the lowest proportionUnion members at major airlines less than 20 percentIts workforce is a union. It’s the only major airline in which flight attendants aren’t unionizedPilots are the most unionized workers in the airline.

AFA has repeatedly tried to unionize Delta flight attendants but has failed each time. Workers most recently lost the union by a narrow margin. only about 300 votesIn 2010, about 20,000 flight attendants were forced to leave after being intimidated. other union-busting tacticsFrom the company.

During the union drive, Delta continued its anti-union tactics. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, IAM, will be in 2019 filed a complaintThe federal agency that handles labor complaints within the airline industry accused the company of using illegal union-busting tactics, such as retaliating towards union activists and coercing employees into voting against the union. IAM ran a separate union drive that was separate from the AFA campaign, but it appears to have ceased.

The complaint was made after the company madeTwo posters were created to discourage workers from joining a union. They highlighted the high cost associated with union dues. “Union dues cost around $700 a year,” read one poster. “A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.” The posters provoked ire online, including from figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

The company also sent anti-union emailsAnd launched a websiteYou will find anti-union talk points throughout the site. taken fromConsultants hired to stop the union campaign. But AFA President Sara Nelson says thatThis campaign is different than previous campaigns to unite the group. It takes place amid a Flurry of labor union activity from workers across the country, and a pandemic that has heightened workers’ awareness of their material conditions.

“The biggest thing that’s different about this campaign is that’s [sic] really being driven and fueled by the next generation,” Nelson told labor reporter Nell McShane WulfhartIn a Time article. “It’s not as if we don’t have people who have been around for decades involved, but the activists who are working on it day in and day out, putting in real time, putting their faces out there and working hard on this is the next generation.”