As the Alliance for Worker Freedom has previously reported, the Association of Flight Attendants has tried and failed, on multiple occasions over several years, to unionize groups of Delta airlines employees. Time and time again, Delta workers have voted to reject the union’s advances, repeating the process as often as the AFA runs crying “foul!” to the National Mediation Board. The NMB, for its part, has bent over backwards to assist the AFA tilting the playing field towards unionization through regulatory fiat.
Even in collusion with the feds, the AFA’s shenanigans have yet to net them new members; it seems that when companies like Delta treat their employees decently, the unions discover—to their horror—that a free market with worker protection laws is rendering them obsolete. No more members means no more dues, and no more dues means no more fat cat packages for union bosses.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so the AFA has launched an attack on Delta management meant to further divide employees while going against longstanding AFA and NMB policy. Below is a video of AFA president Veda Shook explaining this newfound complaint:
It's amazing that Shook can keep a straight face while claiming that Delta "illegally inflated" voter turnout. It was at the behest of the her organization that the NMB threw out over 75 years worth of precedent last year in instituting a "minority rule" for union elections: now that a tiny minority of employees can force collective bargaining upon their peers as long as an opposing majority remains silent, it's no wonder that Delta would make every effort for its employees to be cognizant of the election (which in no way violates the law). It seems that AFA's president explicitly opposes workers participating in the democratic process, if the results are not to her liking.
The meat of Shook’s argument, namely, that Delta viciously discriminates against pre-merger Northwest Airlines employees (former AFA members) by withholding their Profit Sharing Plans sounds damning, but carefully omits some crucial facts. For 60 years it has been the policy of the National Labor Relations Board that “voting is to occur in a ‘laboratory’ in which an experiment may be conducted, under conditions as nearly ideal as possible, to determine the uninhibited desires of employees.” [General Shoe Corp., 77 N.L.R.B. 124, 127 (1948)] Extending profit sharing benefits to pre-merger Northwest Airlines workers would heavily taint “laboratory conditions,” a fact which the AFA had previously recognized. In the words of Andrea L. Bowman, General Attorney for Delta:
“This new position is inconsistent with the positions AFA has taken not only in other recent communications from you and from AFA attorney Peter Swanson, but also in AFA’s challenges to the flight attendant elections at Delta in 2002 and 2008. For example, in both the 2002 and 2008 challenges AFA asserted, ‘[A]ny conferral of benefits on employees seeking representation during this critical period [i.e., when laboratory conditions apply] raises the spectre of carrier interference that is designed to dissuade support for the union.’”
The AFA has spent years employing good old Bolshevik tactics against Delta and its employees: vote, vote, and vote again, and when you get what you want, stop voting. Veda Shook is simply attempting to scare workers by citing a situation which the AFA itself has caused through repeated unionization campaigns and the attending longstanding application of “laboratory conditions.” It’s a good window into the soul of Big Labor: AFA would rather keep on fighting Delta than back off and allow American workers to prosper.