On the Picket Line

Delta airline workers rally for the right to unionize

By Janice Lynn
June 12, 2023

ATLANTA — Delta airline workers here fighting for union representation held a spirited rally at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport May 25. In-flight crew members are seeking representation from the Association of Flight Attendants; ramp and cargo workers from the International Association of Machinists; and mechanics from the Teamsters. Workers from all three unions, as well as supporters from other area unions, came together, presenting a united effort for the campaign to win union recognition.

Over 100 unionists participated, spread out at several arrival gates. They chanted, “Who’s got the power, we got the power, union power.”

“I’m helping to win union support,” Kara Dupuis, who has worked as a Delta flight attendant for eight years, told the Militant. “We need a voice and to win respect. Delta management has no idea what our working conditions are like.”

A flyer distributed by the three unions noted some of the issues they are fighting for: “A fair sick pay policy; Respect for our days off; Scheduling protections; Safe equipment; Affordable, comprehensive healthcare.”

“For decades management has used union-busting tactics to create division and cool organizing,” the flyer pointed out.

“I’m for a union because it’s important that we be treated with equity. It’s our legal right to organize, and we won’t be intimidated,” Gameli Appiah, who has worked as a ramp agent since 2018, said.

Among those who came to support the union effort were Teamster members who work for UPS, who are in the midst of a fight to win a decent contract. Jimmi Hadley, a UPS package car driver, told the Militant, “It’s important that organized labor is coming together to fight for what’s fair for workers.”

Wheelchair attendants, members of the Service Employees International Union, came out to show their support. Union pilots also joined the rally. Jennifer Bennett, a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said, “I’m out here to support my fellow workers. It’s important we have each other’s backs, to know we are not alone.”