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"Duped and manipulated”

19 Nov, 2021

“I watched this video last night and it had me feeling so silly about the years I’d spent taking and absorbing these messages from the company and believing them.”

That’s part of a message we received from one of our flying partners who watched John Oliver’s latest episode of Last Week Tonight.

So why did a segment on a comedy show make our flying partner feel “duped and manipulated”?  

Oliver dedicated the segment to union busting—uncovering the multi-billion dollar industry that’s designed to trick and intimidate workers so management can keep all the power.

Guess who makes an appearance? You got it: Delta. Oliver lampoons the viral “Buy an X-Box” flyer Delta handed out to Ramp agents in 2019. And after you watch the segment, compare it to this example from the “Union Education” section management added to the Delta IFS Portal just this week. Anything familiar?

The segment is hilarious and informative. It’s also serious.

Our industry as a whole is one of the most organized in the country—nearly 80% of aviation workers at US carriers have a union contract that provides legally-binding rules for everything from annual raises to overtime to workplace safety.

But only 20% of mainline Delta workers (pilots and dispatchers) have the same benefits. It’s not because we don’t need it. It’s because Delta has spent millions of dollars on the very same tactics John Oliver shows in his segment.

Most of the benefits we enjoy are thanks to union contracts at other airlines—benefits Delta has to compete with if they want to keep us from looking elsewhere.

But none of our benefits are locked in for us. While Alaska Flight Attendants will receive a contractually-guaranteed raise next year, Ed Bastian is holding our raises hostage. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. From toxic uniforms to the $200 healthcare surcharge to bi-weekly pay to adding five minutes at check-in, Delta controls our working conditions and can change them without any input from us.

If you haven’t watched it, take a few minutes to see John Oliver break down how union busting works. See if you notice anything familiar.

Here’s the full note we received from a flying partner:

I watched this video last night and it had me feeling so silly about the years I'd spent taking and absorbing these messages from the company and believing them. I didn't realize it was a thing that happened everywhere. I thought the company actually thought that they cared about us and our career(s). I was so blind to the bigger picture. Union busting is a whole industry in itself. And our company is a massive participant. I can't believe it took a late night TV host to lay it all out in front of me in order for me to finally get it. I feel duped and manipulated.

If John Oliver’s segment makes you feel duped, just remember: Delta spent millions of dollars to trick you.

Let’s show them we won’t be manipulated by their slick tactics anymore. Sign a card and get involved in our campaign so we can secure our own union at Delta and lock in all the benefits we love with a contract!