The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said it is “putting its full resources” toward winning support from the airlines’ flight attendants. The organization launched failed bids to represent Delta employees in 2010, 2008 and 2002.
“Delta Flight Attendants are the heart of the airline and key to its industry-leading success. They deserve a union contract that leads the industry too,” AFA International President Sara Nelson said in a statement. “That starts with building this campaign together.”
Georgia-based Delta Airlines is the only major U.S. carrier without a flight attendant union. The AFA has a membership base 50,000 across 20 airlines.
“While we respect our flight attendants’ right to choose whether or not to support AFA representation, we feel that our direct partnership with Delta people plays a significant role in our award-winning culture and customer experience including our ability to respond and implement quickly to our flight attendants’ ideas and feedback,” Delta said in a statement.
In its announcement, the AFA cited an MIT study that found Delta flight attendants earn more than $14,000 less in wages, benefits and profit-sharing than their unionized contemporaries at United Airlines.
Last February, Delta paid out $1.3 billion in profit-sharing to employees, amounting to a bonus of 14 percent to each worker. The airline has paid out at least $1 billion in profit-sharing in each of the last five years.
Earlier Friday, the AFA was one of three flight attendant unions to express concerns about Boeing's efforts to return its 737 Max planes to service after they were grounded earlier this year in the wake of two deadly crashes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.