Negotiating a First Contract at Delta
If the company says it will take years, what they mean is that they do not plan to respect the democratic vote of the Flight Attendants and act in good faith to negotiate the contract. AFA has the experience and ability to complete negotiations within a year of the representation vote.
This is the process to get to a first contract at Delta:
- Win Representation Election. National Mediation Board certifies AFA as the union representing Delta Flight Attendants – management cannot retaliate against Flight Attendants for voting for the union, meaning all pay and benefits cannot be unilaterally reduced by management. This locks in what’s already in place for Flight Attendants and sets a starting point for negotiations.
- 30 Day period for Delta Flight Attendants to Sign AFA membership applications and submit nominations of their peers to serve as the local officers of their union.
- Delta Flight Attendants with most nominations from their peers are appointed to serve as local officers.
- First meeting of AFA Delta Master Executive Council convenes within approximately a week to elect MEC officers and Delta Flight Attendant negotiating committee.
- AFA Delta Flight Attendant negotiating committee works with AFA professional negotiators, attorneys, and research department to compile negotiations survey. Survey open for several weeks and Delta Flight Attendant organizers continue work to encourage participation in the survey and information meetings/listening sessions.
- While Flight Attendants complete the survey, the Negotiating Committee studies other industry contracts, attends negotiations training, and reviews Delta’s financials with financial analysts.
- Within four months of representation election, the Negotiating Committee has Flight Attendant feedback including the surveys, negotiations prep work complete, and all necessary information to write the Opening Proposal with targeted changes from current experience. This is reviewed by the Local Delta Flight Attendant leaders. With approval of the Opening Proposal by the leaders, we are ready to begin negotiations with management within 4 to 5 months of the election.
- The targeted number of changes sought in negotiations help to lessen time discussing issues at the bargaining table and reach agreement. Member meetings and communications keep Flight Attendants fully informed and engaged in negotiations.
- As negotiations intensify, so does Flight Attendant involvement. If Delta management does not respect the vote of Delta Flight Attendants and work to negotiate a contract, then Flight Attendant actions heat up from petitions to leafleting to picketing and other creative tactics designed to encourage management to want to reach agreement.
- Tentative Agreement reached with improvements but only becomes a first contract after it is ratified (approved by a majority vote of Delta Flight Attendants).
All contracts take two parties to agree. The most challenging contract negotiations are merger negotiations where two different contracts and cultures are merged into one. In this case, we’re all starting from where we are today. We can be targeted in the number of improvements we seek based on the desires of Delta Flight Attendants. We will do our part to make it possible to reach agreement within a year. If Delta says it will take longer, that’s on management. And if that’s the position management takes, we will take action as a union to pressure them to change their position and reach an agreement instead.