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Delta Mechanics Decline Union Representation

AMFA Granted Request To Terminate Certification

An effort by mechanics at Northwest Airlines to expand their union representation with the recent acquisition by Delta Air Lines has failed. This week, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association asked the National Mediation Board to end its designation as the representative body for mechanics at the carrier.

The union made that request Wednesday, saying "interest has come short of the required number needed" to request a vote among Delta mechanics for representation. AMFA's request was promptly granted by the NMB, reports The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

You could say the odds were stacked against AMFA from the beginning. Northwest has fewer than 1,000 mechanics, compared with 5,700 at Delta. All those workers at the Atlanta-based airline are non-unionized.

Conversely, AMFA's ranks were weakened at Northwest following a 2005 labor strike... which forced many Northwest mechanics to cross the picket line. One member told the Star-Tribune only 10 percent of Northwest mechanics were dues-paying members of AMFA.

Delta's maintenance division president, Tony Charaf, lauded the request to end AMFA's representation. "This marks another significant merger milestone for Delta and its TechOps team," he said in a memo to Delta employees. "Resolving union representation issues has been on the minds of the men and women in Technical Operations in recent months and the NMB's swift ruling allows us to start aligning pay, benefits and work rules and implementing the already agreed on combined seniority list."

While the issue of representation for mechanics has been settled, there remain a number of worker integration issues down the road for the combined airline. A representation vote has not yet been called for the 21,000 flight attendants at Northwest, who are represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA... but that's likely coming.

A similar issue awaits roughly 22,000 unionized ground workers at Northwest, represented by International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Neither of those labor groups at Delta are presently unionized.



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