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Why Do the Activists Mistrust Delta?


The Association of Flight Attendants-Communications of America (afa-CWA) should be congratulated. Through the application of money combined with an effective search and cultivation of the right kind of people to sign on as activists, the afa-CWA was able to persuade enough flight attendants to send in authorization cards to petition the National Mediation Board (NMB) for another election.

Even though the afa-CWA lost by a large margin, in the last election, it is at it again.  The afa-CWA is still trying to recruit new activists to get votes for this election. 

How were they able to accomplish this before?  How are they trying now?  Face it, the rank and file Delta flight attendant does not support a union.  We showed that in the last election.  We continue to show it now.

However,  the afa-CWA's continuing strategy is to try to change our perception of Delta. Among some of its activist followers, the afa-CWA already has been successful with this change. Among this subgroup of activists, the afa-CWA successfully created a subculture of mistrust and it wants this mistrust spread. When a flight attendant disagrees with the afa-CWA line, these followers question the motivation or engage in character assassination. 

Even though the afa-CWA was not successful in changing the culture at Delta to a union hospitable culture for the last election, the afa-CWA is still trying.

If you receive the JoinTogether listserv, you get a sense of the weapon that the afa-CWA has chosen to try to change our perception.

What is this weapon?  


If the afa-CWA can cause us to misinterpret managementís actions, we will begin to mistrust management.  By making us think that Delta intends to harm us, the afa-CWA stands a better chance of winning any new election. The afa-CWA has successfully used this weapon to twist its activists. Now,  the afa-CWA has turned these activists loose on the rest of us.

Alan A. Cavaiola, Ph.D, and Neil J. Lavender, Ph.D. wrote a book entitled Toxic Coworkers: How to Deal with Dysfunctional People on the Job. There is a discussion of paranoia  and Paranoid Personality Disorder in the book. Although this book deals with individuals, we can see this theme in the afa-CWA communications. Look at the articles published by the afa-CWA. Look at the e-mail written by the afa-CWA activists on the JoinTogether listserv. Talk to activists in the lounges or on layovers. What is the common thread? Paranoia.

The following excerpt is from Toxic Coworkers:

"Those with Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) usually operate within the bounds of reality, except for those areas where they misinterpret the actions and intentions of others. While this "misinterpretation" does have a delusional quality, it is not to the extent of the Paranoid Schizophrenic, whose delusions of persecution or grandiosity will take on bizarre qualities. . . . The DSM-IV symptoms of PPD include:

A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others, such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by at least four of the following:

  1. Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting harming or deceiving him or her.
  2. is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates.
  3. is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her.
  4. Reads hidden meaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events e.g. suspects that a neighbor put out the trash early to annoy him.
  5. persistently bears grudges , i.e. is unforgiving of insults, injuries or slights.
  6. perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or counterattack.
  7. Has recurrent suspicions, without justification , regarding the fidelity of a spouse or partner.

Analyze the next JoinTogether Digest or any other afa-CWA communication against this list.

Why do the Activists really mistrust Delta?  Is this mistrust founded in fact, or is it simply paranoia?

You be the judge.



Toxic Coworkers How to Deal with Dysfunctional People on the Job, Alan A. Cavaiola, Ph.D, and Neil J. Lavender, Ph.D., (2000)

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Copyright 1994 American Psychiatric Association.


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Last modified: December 13, 2008