A Delta Airlines flight attendant

Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images

The largest flight attendant union within the U.S. on Friday mentioned it’s beginning a membership drive at Delta Air Lines, the most important U.S. airline with nonunionized cabin crews.

Delta has some 25,000 flight attendants, the corporate mentioned this yr.

The drive by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which additionally represents flight attendants at United and Spirit, comes amid an emboldening of rank-and-file workers, clamoring for a much bigger piece of company income. The current 40-day strike of 48,000 union members at General Motors ended with a brand new contract that included $11,000 ratification bonuses.

The AFA’s unionization drive additionally coincides with a giant hiring spree by Delta. The firm mentioned final month that it needs to rent 12,000 folks via 2020.

Other airline workers have lately voted to unionize, together with JetBlue Airways cabin crews in April 2018. Delta’s workforce is much less unionized than different carriers however its pilots are unionized.

“While we respect our flight attendants’ right to choose whether or not to support AFA representation, we feel that our direct partnership with Delta people plays a significant role in our award-winning culture and customer experience including our ability to respond and implement quickly to our flight attendants’ ideas and feedback,” Delta mentioned in a press release.

Delta was criticized on social media earlier this yr after images of anti-union posters that advised employees spend their cash on a online game system or tickets to a baseball sport as an alternative of union dues.

The Atlanta-based provider is probably the most worthwhile U.S. airline and posted internet revenue of $3.94 billion final yr, in accordance with FactSet.

Delta flight attendants have rejected AFA illustration thrice since 2002, most lately in a detailed vote in 2010.

Sara Nelson, president of the AFA, mentioned, “it’s a completely different atmosphere” in contrast with 2010, when Delta was recent from a merger with Northwest Airlines.

The union is betting that regular profitability since 2010 and different group drives will give the newest push extra momentum.

Delta in February introduced $1.Three billion in profit-sharing with its 80,000 workers, its fifth consecutive yr of sharing greater than $1 billion with its workers.

Nelson contends {that a} contract would give flight attendants higher protections.

“Management can promise things but they can take those things away,” Nelson mentioned.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers can be attempting to prepare Delta flight attendants and ramp employees however they have not but held a vote. In a press release, the IAM mentioned it was “deeply concerned and disappointed” by the AFA’s drive and mentioned its marketing campaign will proceed.

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