Earlier this year, I was scheduled to work three nights back to back. After the first night, I came home and went straight to bed so I could be fully rested for my next flight.
My phone woke me up a few hours later. It was scheduling, calling to tell me they were drafting me for a different flight—with a report time that had already passed. I tried to explain that I couldn’t get there, and even if I could I wasn’t legal to work.
As I sat on hold while I should have been sleeping, it was clearer than ever that we need a union contract and clear rules. Because the system that we have now, where everything is open to interpretation by management, leaves Flight Attendants fending for ourselves.
Before I started with Delta three years ago, I didn’t know it was the only major US airline where Flight Attendants don’t have a union. I’ve always been pro-union, but I wanted to keep an open mind. From the conversations I had, it seems as if many Flight Attendants used to feel that management put people first. But under current management, people seem to just be numbers to them.
Since I joined the campaign, I’ve seen how management wants to scare us into keeping the status quo. Early in the campaign, I was sitting visibility in Atlanta. People were coming by to say hi and see what we were doing. But then a manager came over and started asking us “careful” questions about what we were doing there. After several questions, the manager stood near the table. At the time the campaign was new, and the tactic worked. People stopped coming to talk to us.
A few months later, that manager received a promotion. It showed me that breeding fear and sewing division isn’t a bug for management, it’s a feature. And they’re rewarded for doing it.
We shouldn’t be afraid of our employer. We should be able to speak up for ourselves and our colleagues without fearing that we’ll be targeted. (And the truth is that I’ve never felt as empowered as I do every time we show there’s more of us with our AFA pins on. But we have to lock that in with real contract protections.) We deserve fair pay and benefits, and a real voice to make sure Delta is the best employer in aviation.
Together, we can create real change that improves our jobs and our lives.
Delta AFA ATL Flight Attendant