Delta Thinks Its Employees Are Morons

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Delta, an airline company that absorbs over $5 billion in annual profit and has a share price that’s soared to over eight times its value since 2011, does not want its flight attendants to unionize and demand fair compensation as a unit. Instead of making more money, the airline asks, how about... video games?

Eoin Higgins, a senior editor and staff writer with Common Dreams, first spotted the poster from Delta that you can see above, which appears to be part of its anti-organizing campaign against the International Association of Machinists and the ongoing effort to unionize Delta’s flight attendants. It’s titled “Don’t Risk It Don’t Sign It.” The “it,” in this regard, ostensibly refers to union cards, which workers sign to indicate their willingness to join a union.


But the “risk,” of course, can only refer to punitive measures that Delta can impose on its own workers for asking for better salaries and benefits, as Hamilton Nolan noted over at Splinter last year, when Delta was trying to direct the exact same dimwitted campaign at its own cargo and ramp workers:

  • They make the all time classic corporate threat—“During negotiations, everything would be on the table – and as a result, things could get better, stay the same, or get worse.”—without mentioning that the only way that things could get worse would be if they, the Delta corporation, insisted on making them worse, as retaliation.
  • Their explanation of what labor unions do includes the criticism that during a union campaign “Uncertainty typically rules for a long time,” and that “Negotiations for a first contract in the airline industry can take years”—two more things that happen as a direct result of Delta’s own conduct, not the union’s.
  • The site prominently warns that signing a union card is “NOT confidential, you are giving your personal information to the IAM.” Directly next to this warning is a box where Delta solicits workers’ personal emails to send them more anti-union emails. And, most impressively....
  • It includes an ACTUAL cartoon of a “fat cat” union leader, counting money.

And while negotiations can take a long time, let’s also note that the only reason negotiations over salary happen in the first place, rather than just being unilaterally being imposed upon workers, is because of a union. Unions provide that opportunity.


Delta’s campaign, which the company did not respond to requests to expound further upon, can be found at It foretells of suspended pay raises while the company negotiates with a union (again, that would only be imposed by Delta, and only Delta would be interested in stalling those negotiations), and it lays out some scare tactics over a traditional union security clause—those fearsome “dues,” of course—that are usually mandatory to eliminate the free rider problem.

The company has, it says on the website, given its workers annual raises out of its infinite benevolence, and those workers should be pleased with said benevolence, and should not ask for more.


“The IAM is taking credit for what you are already getting from Delta year after year,” the website says. “When in fact, the only thing a union contract can guarantee is negotiations – which can take years – and paying dues, which can cost you tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your career.”

(The IAM did not respond to request for comment from Jalopnik as of publishing time, however it did issue a press release in response to Delta.)


Delta leaves its own guarantees left unsaid. Probably because its own guarantees are so good, and definitely not because Delta doesn’t have any. Union dues, by the way, are almost always less than whatever raise that you get from the company, and the workers always end up coming out on top when it comes to dues.

Delta’s the anti-union argument is just exceedingly stupid. So stupid, in fact, that Delta itself doesn’t realize that no video game console even comes close to costing $700 (a top-of-the-line Xbox One X, for example, will run you about $400).


So dumb, that Delta recognizes you may not want to spend your money that could’ve gone towards getting you and all your colleagues a fatter bank account on video games, and instead, would you like to spend it on maybe a baseball game, or neckties?

It’s your money, Delta intones. You should keep it. But Delta wants to keep your money for itself instead. In the dumbest possible way.