July 16, 2009
Statement by Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers
in Support of Delta Employees' Right To Choose Union
The AFT is supporting efforts by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to organize the workers of the merged Northwest and Delta airlines.
WASHINGTON—The surest economic stimulus plan for American workers is membership in a union. Strong unions are the best watchdog of efforts by management and investors, who often push through mergers to reap profits at the expense of jobs, workers and the public.
At stake in the Northwest-Delta merger are the collective bargaining rights and livelihoods of workers who helped build these companies and whose decades of union representation are at risk. The AFT strongly supports the effort to maintain collective bargaining rights for Northwest workers and to allow personnel in the merged company who currently do not belong to a union to have union representation if they so choose. Delta has a record of interfering with the rights of its employees to freely choose to join a union, and the government must ensure fair elections for workers in the merged company.
The Northwest-Delta merged entity will be the world's largest airline. This distinction must not come at the expense of the workers it depends on for its success. It should be a model of labor relations, and its workers must have a voice.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.