Hidden Costs Town Hall Q&As

We had a great town hall earlier this week on the Hidden Costs Delta Flight Attendants face with AFA President Sara Nelson and Airline Economist Dan Akins, hosted by our very own Delta AFA Flight Attendant Activist Tiffany!

You can watch the full recording here. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get to everyone's questions before time ran out so they are posted here. 

1. Delta says the EIG gives us a direct relationship with leadership that having a union would take away. What examples can you share where Union reps have the same, if not better, direct relationships with their leaders?

Does anyone have an example of a relationship where one person has all of the control to say “yes, no, maybe,” or “I like it better my way? Trust me. You will too.”?

Having a Union doesn’t change your name or your file number, but it does give you equal footing with your employer and the legal right to have a direct relationship with management. Right now, the “direct relationship” is unilateral. EIG can suggest things all day long and hard working Flight Attendants on the EIG work to make a difference for themselves and their flying partners. But Delta management sets all the terms and conditions — and can unilaterally change them at any time — down to when, where and how you’re allowed to talk with leadership.

Flight Attendants who are also AFA members can talk to their supervisor and leadership team whenever they want. United, American, Alaska hold all the same types of employee townhalls, etc. The difference that comes with our union and contract is the legal requirement for management to sit down and negotiate with Flight Attendants.

2. Would a schedule maximum limit Delta Flight Attendants from picking up trips?

Delta is the only carrier that does NOT have monthly maximum scheduled hours. Flight Attendants at other carriers have bargained hard to keep their maximum scheduled hours down for quality of life, with the ability to pick up at the option of the Flight Attendant only. Management can essentially schedule Delta Flight Attendants an unlimited amount of hours through PBS.

Having a maximum amount of scheduled hours does NOT mean that you won't be able to work more hours if you so choose, by picking up from Open Time or the Swap Board. A contract is about putting maximum control and flexibility in the hands of us as Flight Attendants NOT management. We work to live, not live to work.

3. Can we get this information out to all Flight Attendants?

Yes. Share the town hall recording and talk with your flying partners about how to access this information and get involved in the campaign to gain standing as union Flight Attendants with a legally binding contract and a voice at work that management can’t ignore.

4. When Delta changed the pay schedule to only getting paid every two weeks for what you worked vs a monthly pay out on the 1st and 15th. Are Delta Flight Attendants the only ones no longer receiving a monthly guarantee?

Yes. Delta Flight Attendants are the only major airline Flight Attendants without monthly minimums. Before the bi-weekly pay change, Delta had 45 minimum hours but that was still well below other major carriers. A minimum monthly guarantee provides financial stability for Flight Attendants to plan our lives around.

Additionally, the goal of bi-weekly pay is to make Flight Attendants work more. By forcing Flight Attendants to fly every two weeks in order to cover healthcare premiums and other deductions, Flight Attendants are flying more often and working more - or losing benefits that cost the company money. High productivity at company control means each employee is generating more in revenue for the airline, without the return to the employee for that hard work.

No other major carrier has bi-weekly pay. And at every unionized carrier, the pay schedule is defined in the contract. Management cannot change it unilaterally. They can only change it through negotiations, agreement and a vote of all of the Flight Attendants.

5. Last month (September 9, 2021) Delta petitioned the United States Supreme Court to overturn recent decisions by various circuit court of appeals stating that state wage and hour laws are applicable to Delta FA’s. Is there anything AFA can do to provide support by taking a position against DL’s argument?

Delta and other airline management are working in states across the country to prevent standard worker protections like wage and hour laws and sick leave laws. AFA and other airline unions have fought against these efforts through lawsuits and legislation - and we have won.

Recently, the U.S. Ninth Circuit gave Washington state the green light to apply its state sick leave law to airline employees, backing a trial court's decision to toss a challenge from the airline industry. In 2018, AFA intervened in a lawsuit filed by Airlines for America, the industry's trade group, that attempted to block airline workers' access to the sick leave law. AFA argued the case and won. Read more >

This is also why we need standing in our own right. Delta management claims they look out for Flight Attendants. But in reality, they are using the profits we create to take away our rights.

6. Crew rest parameters are a FAR rule for pilots, not for FA’s. Crew rest going INOP on Long haul flight, crew deferred to rest in main cabin seats near Galley while Pilots are given Business Lay flat seats as per their contract. What is the equivalent rule/protection for organized FA’s out there ? Are there rules/parameters that protect in terms of rest requirements on various airframes/routes?

Flight Attendant contracts not only include language on rest breaks, but where those breaks must occur and what the standard is for crew bunks, crew rest seats, sound deadening curtains, etc. All of these issues are negotiated and included in contracts.

7. How much money Delta saved by us taking unpaid leave during COVID? I would like to know because I was affected by the uniforms and they told us in May they don’t have money to give safe uniforms.

By comparison, Delta spent between $2 billion and $4 billion less on workers during COVID. Their recently announced profits demonstrate there’s plenty of money to make sure employees have a safe work environment including safe uniforms.

8. Is there a timeline for Deidre Hamilton being confirmed at the National Mediation Board?

The three nominees for the NMB were advanced out of Committee this week. Next, there will be a full confirmation vote on the Senate floor. AFA is pressing for this vote to be held as soon as possible.

9. If I want to get more involved, and start working with my coworkers to get the same things other airlines have, how do I do that?

Get Involved with our campaign right now. Fill out this form and we will get you connected to one of our Delta AFA organizers or lead Delta AFA Flight Attendant activists. We can do this -- but we need Flight Attendants to get involved!