WASHINGTON, DC --In a shameful and contradictory decision,
the National Mediation Board ignored precedent and the facts, rewrote the
rules of company interference and issued a purely political decision to
deny Delta Air Lines flight attendants the right to participate in a free
and fair union election.
(It is shameful because it did not vindicate
Pat Friend's position, now she has to explain how she wasted millions of
dollars. It's contradictory because the ex- ALPA Executive
Vice President member wrote a dissent. What is really shameful is
the millions of dollars of dues that Pat Friend wasted on her pet project.)
Board member Harry Hoglander stated in a rare dissenting opinion, "In
their decision today, the Board majority fails to explain that their
decision is a significant departure from Board precedent. In an attempt to
justify and accept conduct which unquestionably 'tainted laboratory
conditions,' the Board majority states they are 'troubled' and 'disturbed'
by Delta's conduct. The majority's decision now creates a gray area of
legally allowable conduct: that which is 'troubling,' but does not
constitute interference. I am at a loss to understand this tortured
In October 2001 the Board issued a preliminary finding of a prima facie
case of interference by Delta. To reinforce the case, AFA filed hundreds
of additional charges of interference made by Delta flight attendants
against the company.
(To the NMB, Prima Facie only means that more
investigation is warranted.)
The decision handed down today is a 180-degree turn from the Board's
preliminary decision. However, since 2001, political control of the Board
has shifted with the appointment of two new Republican members this past
summer, to reflect the anti-worker republican agenda championed by the
(Here is the vote: Mr. Duggan
(Clinton appointee) and Mr. Fitzmaurice
(Bush Appointee and former pilot) for no interference. Mr. Hoglander
(Bush Appointee and former pilot) for interference. It appears the
the Bush appointees cancelled each other out leaving the decision to the
Clinton appointee. It seems to us that of anti - worker Republican
agenda did not play much of a role here. It also seems to us that
your union is deliberately misleading you. To us, that seems
While the finding of facts in the Delta case clearly warranted a new
election, the NMB created a new rule to benefit Delta Air Lines and denied
the workers a new election. By deciding to limit the investigation to the
one-year period preceding the election, the Board in effect nullified a
significant amount of evidence that led to the prima facie finding.
(False, the NMB found in the case that the
facts did not warrant a new election. If it had, do you think that
maybe it would have ordered a re-vote instead of publishing a decision to
"This decision makes it official, corporate America owns and operates
Washington, DC," said the Association of Flight Attendants
International President Patricia Friend. (What
else has Ms. Friend said this year? Remember, the article in the Cincinnati
Enquirer where she said "I've actually accused the FAA of
putting me on some kind of watch list" Update
2002-05 Item 9 Apparently, she says a lost of
strange things in public where she can be quoted.) "Those in the government who
are paid with our tax dollars to protect worker rights, have failed us. It
appears this Board lacks any independence whatsoever and is, instead, in
lockstep with the White House's pro-corporation agenda."
(Uh, a 2-1 vote with the Bush appointees
canceling each other out sounds like independence. Maybe they should
spend more time with the "uninformed Admiral Loy" see Update
2002-09 Item 4 for background on that comment.)
Delta silenced flight attendants' voices through a campaign of fear and
intimidation that was wholly un-American.
(We have never known a flight attendant who
could be silenced about anything. Is it different at your carrier?
Just what do they mean by un American here? Funny, the NMB specifically
stated that there was not a campaign of intimidation by Delta. )
Most reprehensibly, the airline
used the fear and uncertainty that came after the September 11 terrorist
attacks to label union supporters as anti-Delta and un-American.
(Actually, most reprehensibly, the AFA is the
only organization that has used the events of September to try to sway
Delta touts its 'family atmosphere' and promise that it puts 'employees
first' in the media. But Delta hasn't been delivering on its promises.
Management has laid off workers, (True, all of
the major network carriers have.) changed the terms of voluntary furloughs
after the furloughs had taken place, (False,
flight attendants were furloughed according to the legally binding
agreement that they signed when they took the VLT's) failed to hold recalls in seniority
order (False, they started at the top of the
seniority list and worked to the bottom at least twice. All of the flight
attendants who are still out had the option to return, but opted to stay
out), changed the pension plan to a cash-balance plan, (True.
However, this takes place in seven years, 2010, which allows senior flight
attendants to depart before 2010 with the greater sum of the new cash
balance plan or old pension plan. It also gives junior flight
attendants the ability to take retirement cash with them should they leave
Delta before retirement.) which will mean
significantly reduced pensions for thousands of Delta flight attendants,
closed flight attendant bases (Okay, that stinks,
but it is saving millions per year and we do want to have jobs next year.)
and developed a plan for a low-cost airline
where flight attendants could be forced to work longer hours for less pay
-- all without input from their non-union workers.
(Did you notice the word "could"? Why is the AFA trying to
inflame our emotions? Are they trying to divert attention from
Without a union, the Delta flight attendants have no voice in the future
of their airline or the rapid changes that are taking place across the
airline industry. With the potential for significantly more layoffs as the
industry continues to struggle, and the real possibility of management
imposed pay cuts, Delta flight attendants need a voice more than ever. (Pat
Friend herself has stated that "Over the years, Delta Airlines has
maintained its union free status by keeping its wages up near the top of
the industry and basically treating its employees well" see article
for more of what she said. She sure changes her position a lot.
Remember, her guns-in-the-cockpit position flip-flop.
With AFA union representation, the
majority of AFA members are looking at Bankruptcy Section 1113(c) hearings
with court imposed pay cuts. We think Ms. Friend is throwing stones
from her highly mortgaged glass house. This hypocrisy of this statement
would be funny if it were not so sad.)
With close to 20,000 flight attendants involved, the Delta vote was the
largest private-sector union election in more than 30 years. Delta is the
only major U.S. air carrier whose flight attendants do not have union
representation. (We're cool with that)
Almost 50,000 flight attendants at 26 carriers have joined together to
form AFA, the largest flight attendant union in the world. (50,000?
Where is she getting that number. Unless UAL and US Airways can
survive bankruptcy, the AFA's new slogan will be "Almost 24,000
flight attendants at 24 carriers have joined together to form
RJ-AFA, the largest Regional flight attendant union in the
world." Visit us @ www.afanet.org.
AFA members should hold their communications department to a higher
standard. With press releases like this, the AFA will be treated
like the "proverbial boy who cried wolf."