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Doing the Bare Minimum

The swap board is dry and open time is empty, but this doesn’t feel like our normal winter slowdown. While Flight Attendants are grappling for hours, Delta management is continuing to over hire. Although not so long ago we were begging for relief from over packed schedules and reroutes into our off time to cover trips, this cycle of feast or famine isn’t exactly what we imagined.

What can we do to protect ourselves in slow seasons? Secure our union and demand a contractual Minimum Hours Guarantee!

A Minimum Guarantee is the standard across the airline industry for a reason: it guarantees a minimum amount of hours per month that must be assigned and paid to all active Flight Attendants. While you can still drop and pick up hours, a Minimum Guarantee means at the start of the month, your schedule is always built with a living wage in mind.

While Delta did offer a voluntary Temporary Low Schedule Value for many Flight Attendants, many Flight Attendants who didn’t bid for low value found their schedules lacking hours, leaving them scrambling to pick up from a desolate swapboard and barren open time. A Minimum Guarantee would protect us from Delta over hiring or under hiring, because it forces them to pay us an agreed upon set of hours each month. It means knowing every month how many hours you will get on your line, and never being surprised by not having enough.

Even if you are on a voluntary TLSV line, the company is still taking advantage of us. When the company reduces your hours, they’re also cutting your benefits. Delta has several convoluted formulas to calculate how our PPT, vacation, and healthcare eligibility accrue over the year. If you don’t work enough to meet their numbers, you lose out, and Delta saves money when they give you less PPT and vacation time. Even when we’re doing them a favor by taking less hours, we’re at risk of losing our benefits. Meanwhile, we struggle to get enough hours to pay our bills. With a contract, we could have clear rules for minimum hours AND for how benefits accrue when we’re working less time on the line.

In addition to not having a Minimum Guarantee, management has curtailed our flexibility by instituting bi-weekly pay without our consent. Bi-weekly pay prevents us from setting up our schedules around our lives and instead forces us to set up our lives around our schedules.

When we get forced into fewer hours, it makes it even more difficult to bid for and work the next pay period. A union contract can help us reclaim the flexibility we love by locking in rules that protect our interests.

A Minimum Guarantee is just another reason to sign a card and form our union. A union contract would protect our interests in times of surplus as well as times of strife. We need a contract because Delta continues to change the rules, manipulate our formulas for accruing benefits, and change our pay structure. Sign your card and get involved in the campaign today and let’s protect our future, our flexibility, and our career!