Delta Air Lines is facing heat for encouraging its workers to buy a video game system instead of paying union dues.
Delta’s baggage handlers and other ground workers are considering whether to unionize. Delta does not want this. Hoping to convince employees to vote against unionization, it distributed the following flyer in airport break rooms.
Union dues cost around $700 a year.
A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.’
— Machinists Union | Pass the #PROAct (@MachinistsUnion) May 9, 2019
Not surprisingly, the International Association of Machinists blasted the flyer as insulting, adding:
The union-busting techniques have hit an all-time low. We are considering all options to combat that.
But Delta disputes the charge of “union busting” and asserts it just wants employees to make a well-reasoned decision.
They want and deserve the facts and we respect our employees’ right to decide if a union is right for them. Delta has shared many communications, which on the whole make clear that deciding whether or not to unionize should not be taken lightly.
Delta also maintains a “Don’t Risk It, Don’t Sign It” website that encourages workers to “Be Delta. Be different.”
The website strongly and directly attacks the IAM union.
Furthermore, Delta points out that it offers the “best total compensation” in the industry and that IAM retirement packages would be not be as lucrative for workers. Currently, Delta pilots are the only workgroup that is unionized.
Blasting Delta, Democratic Presidential nominee and Vermont Senator Bernies Sanders said on Twitter:
Delta told employees to buy video games instead of forming a union. What a disgrace.
Delta's CEO made nearly $22 million in 2017 while paying ramp agents as little as $9/hour.
I say to Delta: Stop trying to undercut workers' right to form a union and negotiate for better wages. https://t.co/8fx30jIfJf
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 9, 2019
Others have joined in his chorus.
If half of the info on Delta’s anti-union website is true, I am quite sympathetic to Delta’s position here and question whether unionizing would be helpful to workers. At the same time, I cannot help but to wonder if a carrier that lies so viciously against Gulf Carriers is also not lying about the union organizers. In my book, Delta has a broader credibility problem. I think we can all agree that the video game ad was probably a mistake…it’s just a bit patronizing.