United Flight Attendant Union attacks Delta over boarding allowance

United Flight Attendant Union attacks Delta over boarding allowance

United Flight Attendant Union attacks Delta over boarding allowance

A few days ago, Delta announced that it would begin paying flight attendants upon boarding, which is (surprisingly) not common practice in the US airline industry. United’s flight attendants’ union has now reacted to this development with some rather bizarre claims.

Delta Flight Attendant Boarding Allowance

Historically, flight attendants in the United States have not been paid upon boarding, but do not begin to be paid until the aircraft door is closed. Delta is the first major US airline to change that:

  • Delta said it would start paying flight attendants for the scheduled boarding time of 40 to 50 minutes, at half the standard hourly rates.
  • Delta is the only major US airline where flight attendants are not unionized, although over the years there have been several organizing efforts
  • Obviously Delta leading the way here was an attempt by management to keep flight attendants happy and encourage flight attendants not to unionize

Before I get to what the United Flight Attendants Union has released, let me note that:

  • I’m pro-union, in the sense that I think flight attendants should be allowed to unionize if they want to, without being intimidated
  • I don’t necessarily think that unionization is a good thing and non-unionization is a bad thing, or vice versa; objectively, Delta’s flight attendants are better positioned overall than flight attendants at most other major US airlines, and they also provide significantly better service

With that in mind, let’s get into what United’s flight attendants’ union claims.

Delta flight attendants will now be paid upon boarding

United flight attendants union responds to Delta

Clearly, flight attendant unions are under pressure, as they have been unable to negotiate boarding allowances, while Delta flight attendants are now being proactively offered this. For example, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), representing United Airlines personnel, issued a memo to members on Delta’s development.

Presumably, some members are wondering why they are paying dues when the union can’t even get them what Delta management is proactively offering flight attendants.

The memo recognizes that boarding allowance is a good thing and that all flight attendants should receive boarding allowance.

The union begins by saying that pension compensation has been a priority for at least 20 years, but since 9/11 the union has been “locked in to fighting management at the bargaining table to keep what we have already achieved. during negotiations.

Basically saying “well we haven’t really been able to do anything in 20 years” doesn’t sound like a strong case for unionization. This is especially true since Delta flight attendants are arguably in a better position than United flight attendants.

The syndicate then tries to paint “the rest of the story”, which includes the following:

  • “Wrapped around this announcement is the fact that Delta management has increased passenger boarding times from 35 minutes to 40 minutes and this announcement is their attempt to fake the angry reaction it deserves from the public. flight attendants”
  • “This decision is unmistakably tied to the AFA’s ongoing efforts to organize Delta flight attendants”
  • “As Delta continues to add additional services, they have failed to restore staffing to pre-pandemic levels on the aircraft”
  • “This initiative is apparently designed to distract from the fact that Delta will require all flight attendants to wear a uniform that made them sick, a move the AFA is fighting against as our collective work to set standards continues. continues”
  • “Absent a contract, there is no commitment to lock in this compensation factor for Delta Flight Attendants”
  • “This is a stark reminder that Delta management, in the same manner as it has been implemented, has the ability to unilaterally terminate the boarding allowance, at its sole discretion.”

This argument is simply everywhere. Where to start ?

  • I’m pretty sure most Delta flight attendants don’t mind the boarding time being increased by five minutes if it means they get paid for the full boarding time.
  • The AFA is correct that this is related to attempts to unionize Delta flight attendants, although that is about the only specific and relevant point here.
  • As for Delta’s staffing levels, virtually all US airlines operate domestic flights at the legally required minimum, so this is a really nuanced point.
  • I don’t know what the uniforms have to do with the pension allowance, but the AFA is really hanging on to straws here
  • Okay, there’s no commitment that Delta management won’t backtrack, but likewise, if Delta management does, wouldn’t that take away the whole point of this, which is to keep flight attendants happy and prevent them from unionizing?

The whole thing gives off “but his email” vibes.

United says Delta’s boarding allowance is good, but…

At the end of the line

Flight attendants must be paid upon boarding, plain and simple. Delta has become the first major US airline to start doing this, and that’s great news. Although Delta’s flight attendants aren’t unionized, major airline unions should thank Delta here, because Delta’s decision gives them a lot more leverage.

Clearly, unions are struggling to justify their value to members in light of this development. As a result, United’s flight attendant union is attacking Delta for increasing boarding time by five minutes and for all sorts of unrelated things, like uniforms and staffing.

What do you think of the United flight attendants’ union’s response to Delta’s boarding allowance?

(Hat tip for Vue de l’Aile)

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