May 15, 2019

Harris Demands Delta Cease Anti-Union Activities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Wednesday sent a letter to Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, urging him to bring an end to Delta’s coordinated, strategic anti-union campaign, which has included distributing fliers to its non-unionized workforce discouraging unionization, playing anti-union advertisements continuously in employee break rooms, and holding weekly anti-union activities.

“The right of workers to join together in a union and collectively bargain has been fundamental in helping to build the middle class in this country,” wrote Harris. “Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers.  Union participation can improve an employee’s wages, health care, job security, workplace safety, and retirement benefits.”

Harris continued, “Delta’s Don’t Risk It. Don’t Sign It. campaign is disingenuous, disrespectful, and misleading. It is an attempt to interfere with its employees’ legal rights and hinder the ability of thousands of workers to make an important decision about their lives and livelihoods. I urge you to cease this campaign and allow Delta employees the ability to determine whether to unionize free from inference, intimidation, or retaliation.”

The full letter is available here and below:

May 15, 2019

Mr. Ed Bastian

Chief Executive Officer

Delta Air Lines, Inc.

P.O. Box 20706

Atlanta, GA 30320-6001

Dear Mr. Bastian:

I write to raise serious concerns regarding Delta’s anti-union communications towards its non-unionized workforce and urge that you immediately stop your anti-union actions.

According to recent reports, Delta has engaged in a highly coordinated and strategic campaign – Don’t Risk It. Don’t Sign It. – that has intentionally interfered with its employees’ legal right to unionize. As part of this campaign, Delta has distributed fliers and posters aimed at dissuading unionization and instead suggesting that union dues would be better spent on “a new video game system with the latest hits,” or “a few rounds for your buddies.” Additionally, Delta has played anti-union advertisements continuously in employee break rooms and held weekly anti-union meetings.

The right of workers to join together in a union and collectively bargain has been fundamental in helping to build the middle class in this country. Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers. Union participation can improve an employee’s wages, health care, job security, workplace safety, and retirement benefits.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, union members had median weekly earnings of $1,051 while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $860. In California, workers covered by a union contract earn an average of 12.9 percent more than non-union workers with similar demographic characteristics and working in similar industries.

Furthermore, union membership significantly decreases the likelihood of a worker living in a low-income family. For many Californians and workers across the United States, unions are one of the most effective pathways into the middle class. Delta employees, including the 5,955 based in California, have the right to determine whether unionization will extend to them these same benefits and opportunity. Your actions infringe on this right.

Delta’s Don’t Risk It. Don’t Sign It. campaign is disingenuous, disrespectful, and misleading. It is an attempt to interfere with its employees’ legal rights and hinder the ability of thousands of workers to make an important decision about their lives and livelihoods. I urge you to cease this campaign and allow Delta employees the ability to determine whether to unionize free from inference, intimidation, or retaliation.

Sincerely,

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