In our last communication we warned you about airline management floating a new concept calling for wages and working conditions that are “industry standard” versus “industry leading.” We also pointed out the irony that, with American Airlines in bankruptcy and their merger with US Airways in doubt, somehow Delta, a non-union airline has become the standard we are being measured against. Our last article has sparked discussion out on the line with some Flight Attendants talking about what’s attractive about Delta’s working conditions and comparing them to ours.
Discussion is always good, but let’s be clear: Delta Flight Attendants do not have a Contract. There may be work rules or wage rates that some find attractive, however Flight Attendants at Delta receive whatever they get at the pleasure of Delta management. They are not mandated by a Contract, and even though it might be hard to believe, every aspect of a Delta Flight Attendant’s life can be changed on a whim, and they have no say in how that happens or what the result might be.
You don’t have to look any farther than our ongoing Joint Contract Negotiations to see a real life example of how, if management had its way, our current working conditions would be drastically changed, and not for the better. The JNC has told you repeatedly over the last year that they are seeking to reach agreements which memorialize current practice for things like CJA, Commuter Policy, Deadheading, and Uniforms, just to name a few, and they have not been successful because United management is not interested in maintaining current practices.
Stop and think about it. If management isn’t interested in maintaining the status quo, why don’t they just implement the practices they want? It’s called a Contract.
Whether you currently fly for Continental Micronesia, Continental or United, the Contracts we work under are the results of a long history of collective bargaining. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it may be simpler to say “all of us” bargained together as one unified group of Flight Attendants, and with our Union developed, improved and protected our wages, benefits and working conditions. Working collectively gives us strength in numbers, and is certainly more powerful and persuasive than one person alone.
As negotiations continue next week in Chicago, the JNC will continue to protect your collective bargaining rights.