Delta Airlines is now apparently encouraging employees to spend money on video game systems instead of union dues in its in-flight magazine.
That’s according to a recent tweet from Common Dreams senior editor Eoin Higgins, who tweeted a photo of the advertisement with the caption “lol fuck off @Delta.” The ad itself shows a video game controller, and reads “UNION DUES COST AROUND $700 A YEAR.” In smaller red letters, the ad reads “A NEW VIDEO GAME SYSTEM WITH THE LATEST HITS SOUNDS LIKE FUN. PUT YOUR MONEY TOWARDS THAT INSTEAD OF PAYING DUES TO THE UNION.”
In the bottom-left corner of the ad is a Delta Airlines logo, with the domain “DontRiskItDontSignIt.com” shown below. The “dontsignit” portion of the URL is highlighted in red, seemingly emphasizing its point to employees to not sign union cards.
A cursory read of the website suggests it’s the company’s attempt to dissuade employees from unionizing, as Delta is referred to in the first-person plural (“we,” “us,” “our,” etc.) and includes pro-company language touting the company’s values, like “Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Perseverance,” and “Servant Leadership.”
There’s also language on the website denigrating the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union. One section of the website is called “Dangers of the IAM,” accusing the union of forging signatures on union cards (which are needed to trigger an election by employees to officially unionize) and alleged corruption on behalf of top union officials.
However, the website’s registration is hidden from the public, according to who.is records. This means whoever registered the site in February of 2018 paid extra money to keep registrant information secret.
For its part, the IAM is encouraging Delta workers to sign union cards, touting the fact that unionized Delta workers in Canada are among the company’s highest paid airline employees in the country. According to the IAM, Canadian Delta workers’ new agreement includes a 17% pay increase over a five-year period, as well as increases in health benefits.
In a tweet, Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called the ad “EXTREMELY insulting to the thousands of airline employees who work hard every single day.”
“Delta’s CEO made $13.2 million in 2017 – more than any other airline CEO – yet he won’t let workers fight for better wages,” Pocan tweeted.
Delta's CEO made $13.2 million in 2017 – more than any other airline CEO – yet he won't let workers fight for better wages.
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) May 9, 2019
In a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (the airline is headquartered in Atlanta), the company acknowledged the advertisement in the in-flight magazine was theirs.
“Delta has shared many communications, which on the whole make clear that deciding whether or not to unionize should not be taken lightly,” the company stated.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.