Union-organizing efforts have consistently failed since Delta Air Lines merged with Eagan-based Northwest Airlines. That trend continued last fall when 53% of baggage handlers voted to reject representation by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
Baggage handlers include airport customer service and cargo warehouse employees.
Once the votes were counted, the IAM immediately filed a series of objections, including charges that Delta interfered with the vote.
In November, flight attendants rejected unionization for the third time in the past decade. They voted against representation by the Association of Flight Attendants, which also threatened to file interference complaints.
Unions have not fared well since the 2008 airline merger. The IAM failed twice in 2010 to win representation of Delta’s simulator technicians. Delta’s meteorologists saw sunnier skies without unions in a 2009 vote.
Before the merger, Delta’s aircraft maintenance technicians had no union representation, while those at Northwest did. Northwest technical staff elected to drop union representation shortly after the merger was announced.
Note: Unions almost always file interference complaints after losing an election. The key for employers is to avoid giving unions any fodder for their allegations.
During the run-up to elections, employers are free to present their side of the argument, but pressuring employees to vote against the union will land you in hot water before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
And remember, the NLRB has been busy issuing largely pro-union decisions lately.