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From insulting to illegal: IAM files charges against Delta Air Lines

ATLANTA (May 20, 2019) — In the 10 years since the then-struggling Delta Air Lines acquired Northwest Airlines, the company has become the dominant carrier through much of the Southeast and grown into an industry powerhouse. Amid that growth, Delta has added hubs in multiple cities, including Seattle where it competes head-to-head with Alaska Airlines, the dominant carrier in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Headquartered in the “right-to-work” state of Georgia, Delta has aggressively fought off efforts by its employees to unionize as it has expanded outside the anti-union South. The company hopes to maintain a competitive advantage against unionized carriers by paying substandard wages, health care, and retirement benefits.

Delta’s efforts to discourage its flight attendants and ramp workers from joining together in unions drew national attention earlier this month. A company poster urging employees to spend their money on video games rather than union dues went viral online, and was widely criticized for being ineffective and condescending.

But now, the union helping Delta employees organize says that the company’s anti-union activities have gone from insulting to illegal.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) filed election interference charges last week with the National Mediation Board (NMB) against Delta Air Lines, stating:

The IAM has overwhelming evidence that Delta Air Lines has interfered with the Flight Attendants and Ramp employees’ lawful right to seek a vote for union representation free from interference, influence or coercion exercised by the carrier.

“The IAM has provided the NMB with evidence showing Delta has run an unlawful, systematic anti-union campaign that includes intimidation, discipline and terminations of union activists,” said IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “Last week, the public was able to see what many behind the walls of Delta have always known; that Delta will go to great lengths to suppress their employees’ collective voices.”

Some examples of Delta’s illegal activity include a coordinated misinformation campaign through postings and electronic messages in the workplace, surveilling and photographing employees participating in union activities and the singling out and termination of union activists.

Click here to view the complete IAM complaint.

“Our government has a duty to protect the rights and freedoms of working people. Now is a chance to right this injustice, support workplace democracy and stand up for Delta workers,” said Pantoja.

The IAM is the world’s largest airline union, representing more than 110,000 airline employees in North America. For more information about the IAM/Delta campaigns visit and

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