Motion For Single-Carrier Status Forces Unions' Hands
Unions representing workers at the former Northwest Airlines may
be rushed into new certification votes before they're ready.
As part of its agreement with Delta, the Air Line Pilots
Association, which represented pilots at both Delta and Northwest
before they were merged, was bound to submit an application to the
National Mediation Board, seeking a determination that Delta and
Northwest now constitute a single carrier. The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution reports that application has now been
Pilots were the only major group of employees at Delta with
union representation, but the Northwest workforce was highly
unionized. In May,
flight attendants at Delta voted against joining the
union representing their counterparts at Northwest...
but that fight, and many others, appears to be far from over.
If the NMB rules the combined carrier is, indeed, one carrier,
those other unions will have just 14 days to show the support of at
least 35 percent of employees in any craft for a union
representation vote. If they can't, the unions might lose their
rights to represent members from the old Northwest.
It's reasonable to assume Delta would love to see that happen.
The company has made its own filing of support for the
determination of single-carrier status, saying its important for
integration of seniority lists to begin promptly. The company is
also offering non-union employees raises on January 1, the same day
union raises take effect.
The International Association of Machinists and The Association
of Flight Attendants both say they will file protests. IAM VP
Robert Roach contends, "We would be forced into an election before
the employees have an opportunity to see what the combined carrier
The controversy follows aggressive rhetoric from the IAM on
October 29, in reaction to the approval of the merger by the US
Department of Justice.
The union, which represents ground workers who have been
employed by Northwest Airlines, issued a statement which
threatened, "The days when Delta could ride roughshod over their
employees is coming to an end. Delta is creating the world's
largest airline. The Machinists Union will make it the world's
largest unionized airline."
Looks like that bluff has been called...