Is the brand of coffee an airline chooses to serve onboard a political choice? I’ll make it a true Daily Double and say no way. I would be very careful before drawing any sort of political inferences between Delta Air Lines serving Starbucks Coffee onboard and the farcical so-called “union-busting” tactics of both companies.
Starbucks Barista Upset That Starbucks Coffee Is Available On Delta Air Lines (Union Squabble)
If you’ve read any of my coffee posts, you know I rank Starbucks right up there between Sanka and Quik. It has always amazed me how much people love that coffee brand because I find the taste of most beans, even at a Starbucks Reserve, to be vastly inferior even to other nationwide coffee chains like Peets or Coffee Bean (let alone coffee that is actually decent).
My point here, though, is not to debate coffee but to comment on a tweet from a Starbucks barista and union organizer that has gained quite a lot of traction. She is outraged that a “union-busting airline” is “promoting union-busting coffee.”
Wow look! Union-busting airline promoting union-busting coffee. pic.twitter.com/vywXOhies0
— Casey Moore (@UnionCasey) April 14, 2023
No, Ms. Moore, Delta is not union-busting. Delta’s blundering campaign to convince flight attendants to vote against unionizing did not do anything but draw more union votes. Delta flight attendants have repeatedly voted against unionizing because Delta offers a far better benefits package than any unionized US carrier.
Union advocates say that would not change if flight attendants unionized, but that is not supported by evidence. Furthermore, unions have failed to negotiate perks like boarding pay or generous profit sharing that Delta has proactively offered its non-unionized flight attendants.
Union activists disingenuously take credit for this, saying Delta is so generous to employees because it is afraid they will unionize. Well, if that is the truth…then why would Delta flight attendants want to unionize? Even if they kept the same benefits package, a portion of their paycheck would be pulled for union dues each month. And if Delta flight attendants do unionize, you can bet that Delta will then negotiate hard when it comes to forming a new contract, knowing that unions thrive by creating perpetual grievance and that it will be attacked no matter what it does.
Some harshly criticized View From The Wing for amplifying the view of one fringe Twitter user, but I find this topic fascinating. Furthermore, her tweet was liked by Sara Nelson, who is President of the powerful AFA-CWA flight attendants union (representing a number of US airlines including Alaska, Spirit, and United). This barista may be on the fringe, but the outpouring of support from union leaders for her tweet is quite telling.
A Starbucks barista is upset that Delta is serving Starbucks coffee, branding the two companies as “union busters.” The truth is much more complicated and while the union discussion is interesting, it is quite unrelated to the coffee onboard.
top image: Starbucks
So basically an article about how unions are bad…
And passively muddying the water on court defined labor law violations through attempts to union bust at Starbucks. Starbucks organizers have every right to be “outraged” even though she really only made a throwaway tweet for the occasion, at the very least it served its purpose in letting the author get some jabs in at unions and organizers.
@Aaron: I must have missed that paragraph. I did say that it is not in the interest of Delta FAs to unionize at this time.
Union articles stay triggering
Just curious, but wouldn’t the fact that Delta offers better pay and benefits to non-union FAs than other airlines do to their unionised workgroups constitute prima facie “union busting”? After all, those actions have the effect of convincing FAs that they shouldn’t vote to support unionisation.
Exactly so not sure why using the term union-busting qualifies as being fringe…unless you are speaking from a fringe right to work standpoint.
@Sean M. I think only if we stretch the term to an unreasonably broad definition. Delta has done nothing to prevent FAs from exercising their right to unionize.
Are you at the airport interacting with FAs to so definitively state that Delta is not union busting ? Come on now. All these big companies hire the same consultants and build websites with the same talking points. Do we not remember Delta posting signs about how their employees could buy a playstation instead of paying union dues? While I don’t know that the Starbucks coffee being on the plane thing is the best hot take example of union busting, it is a good example of how corporations stick together and workers should too. Unionizing is imperfect but still one of the best options.
I mentioned the Playstation gaffe above. Foolishness on the part of Delta. But let’s not call that union-busting.
Few reading this blog would likely object to the idea that the American model fails to produce a living wage for many people. But it bears repeating, at least in the American model, unions are bad. They are bad for productivity, customer experience and price. As for protecting workforce safety, tort lawyers and the threat of litigation are more persuasive than any union rep. There is simply not a large or deep pool of customers interested in paying more for lower quality service solely to support a union. Labor needs a new narrative to address real problem. Unions had their moment. Now they’re liking tweets about what brand of coffee is served on an plane? And this is supposed to make us believe unions understand the problems of real people?
This sounds like someone got paid to write an article about how “unions are bad” . None of the better things Delta FAs currently get are guaranteed in a contract and could be taken away at any moment. Unions are class solidarity. They, the unions, are necessary in times like these, when corporate profits are ridiculous and they aren’t passing on these earnings to the people who actually make it happen. Delta is working hard to avoid a union, but these perks can be taken away at any time. It’s important workers stick together. If you look at actual data, the decline of unions has coincidentally been on a similar trajectory as stagnating wages and huge CEO salaries. Why did this article even get written? It’s such a garbage stance. Again, class solidarity is key.
I was not paid to write this article, lol.
You’re free to opine, but Delta FAs are better paid with better benefits than any of their union counterparts. Maybe Delta FAs don’t want a system that protects the old at the expense of the young (all priority on longevity).
I don’t actually think you were paid to write it. But it sure sounds like it. You aren’t wrong about Delta FA pay. There are some increases Delta just made to FA pay that makes them some of the best compensated, but if we ignore the fact that it is connected to the pilot’s union pushing for better conditions for themselves and the FAs –then we are side stepping how important unions are. Have you seen what Delta pilots just negotiated? If unions are so bad why has their union been around for so long? Let’s really get into some nuanced informed conversation.
I think one of the major problems the AFA has they have not be able to negotiate not only the pay rate but also the benefits at UA. Not only does Delta pay better they also offer health benefits among other things. Newly hired flight attendants at Delta don’t spend 20 days a month on reserve like they do at United new hire FA’s at Delta only have 6 reserve days per month, something the AFA and Sara Nelson does not support.
Spirit Airlines which is represented by the AFA during their recent negotiations asked for boarding pay and the AFA stated they didn’t see the value in boarding pay and didn’t bring it up in negotiation with Spirit. I’ve heard some FA’s at Delta are making $2,000 dollars per month in just boarding pay because their boarding pay is directly tied to their flight pay and that $2,000 dollars was before Delta’s pay increase went into effect. As FA’s pay goes up so does their boarding pay and if they are working 3 legs a day that translates into quite a bit of extra money that no other FA at any other U.S. carrier is getting.
From my understanding Delta’s work rules are right up there with both AA and UA so what can the AFA offer Delta flight attendants that they aren’t already getting for themselves? Delta has 25,000 flight attendants and it would appear as though those 25,000 flight attendants have more of a voice in the executive suite than any UA FA does and more solidarity than the AFA has. I have nothing against unions and I have no skin this game but in my opinion the reason the AFA continues to fail at Delta is because they haven’t succeeded at United.
Starbucks coffee sucks but brainwashed people that know nothing about coffee thinks that is what coffee should taste like. That’s why Starbucks has very few stores in Italy that are mainly for tourists as Italians don’t drink that crap.
As for the barista, ………………
I think Delta is a reasonable and unbiased airline. Liberals can enjoy Bud Light while getting triggered over Starbucks, and Conservatives can enjoy Starbucks while getting triggered over Bud Light. Everybody is angry and everybody gets a lousy drink. Win-Win-Win.
In order to “bust a union”, does it need to first be in place? If the FAs are not unionized, there is no union, and therefore nothing to bust.
Some companies may very well treat their employees better with the hopes of preventing a vote to unionize. Great for those employees. For those that have employers, that with policies and practices harm innocent employees, a union to protect them is needed.
When I have worked in a position requiring union membership, I did not see great benefits from it. My first was as a younger person in my early twenties. The “higher” pay, when multiplied by the mandatory minimum weekly hours, covered my union dues. So I was still making minimum wage, but actually less, because I had to pay Federal, State, and Social Security taxes on that portion that went to the union. Someone not in a union working the same hours at minimum wage had a higher take home pay. The other reality, was that the union president made a six figure salary, plus had a six figure expense account. How many hours of labor from people like myself did it take to support the presidents salary and benefits? I felt like a peasant eating ramen noodles while the union president was dining on steak off the backs of the people.
The presidents of these unions should be limited to making no more than double the salary of the average wage of the workers they represent. If not, they are the elite living off of the backs of the people they claim to represent. It reminds me of the old Soviet Union, those in the top positions of the politburo lived well, dined well, and vacationed well at lakeside resorts, while the people below them waited in line for hoping for a loaf of bread.
Yeah, I strayed from the topic a little…. reading some the comments triggered that ….