A spokeswoman for Delta confirmed that the poster — which includes a generic depiction of a video game controller and suggests that employees “put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union” — is real.
The firm, FTI Consulting, has produced astroturf campaigns for some of the worlds biggest polluters including Exxon, BP, and Halliburton.
Insulting. Without an IAM contract, many @Delta workers have to work 2-3 jobs just to survive. They have no time to play games. #DoBetterDelta pic.twitter.com/UVM0PR2fKC
In a statement, Delta said it was seeking to preserve “the direct relationship we have with our employees” and asserting that Deltas employees “have the best total compensation in the industry, including the most lucrative profit sharing program in the world.”
Delta Airlines slammed for poster suggesting employees buy video games instead of paying union dues | TheHill
The union said in a statement Thursday that Delta had “resorted to defaming and spewing lies and misrepresentations about the IAM.”
Several members of Congress joined thousands of other people on social media in denouncing the poster.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a Democratic presidential candidate, called the poster “a disgrace,” alleging on Twitter that “Deltas CEO made nearly $22 million in 2017 while paying ramp agents as little as $9/hour.”
Records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission report that Chief Executive Ed Bastian received a little more than $13.2 million in total compensation in 2017, including stock and incentives.
“A gaming system cant give you: fair wages, health care benefits, job security, retirement benefits,” he said on Twitter.
Delta Air Lines Urges Employees to Buy Video Games Instead of Paying Union Dues
The poster doesnt appear to have been intended for the public — its not included among eight pages of “printable messages” on Deltas Dont Risk It, Dont Sign It website, which domain registration records indicate was created in February 2018. Those messages, while being equally as aggressive as the video game poster, more directly address specifics of Deltas opposition to union representation.
Did Delta Tell Employees Video Games Are More Valuable Than Unions?
Among the allegations in those messages is that the IAM makes unannounced visits to workers homes, opposes profit sharing and disregards workers privacy.
Delta campaign against union draws attention
Georgia is a so-called right-to-work state, where its illegal to require workers to become union members as a condition of employment. Delta, which is based in Atlanta, said in its statement Thursday that it supported “our employees right to decide if a union is right for them.”
The unionization campaign has been ongoing for a while–and the airline has responded in some bizarre ways. Last year, Splinter wrote about Delta’s questionable anti-union propaganda. That includes a website called “Don’t Risk It. Don’t Sign It.”–the “it” being a union card–and posters claiming that the unions are run by rich fat cats raking in dough from poor unionized employees.
The message is clear: Why join a union when you can just buy a video game console instead? While the people who helped craft that message may have thought they made something pithy and memorable, the result wasn’t quite that. Instead, Delta comes off more like a rich grandfather explaining to his grandchildren that they should be happy with the Applebee’s gift card he set aside for them in his will.
In its last earnings report, Delta exceeded revenue expectations–hitting $10.47 billion; its profits jumped 31% to $730 million. While business is booming, the airline is taking great pains to ensure that those making an average of $14.31/hour don’t seek out worker protections or the ability to get better and comprehensive compensation. Meanwhile, Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, received total compensation of over $13 million in 2017.
With this latest tone-deaf poster, Delta seems to be telling employees that they should use their hard-earned money to buy mindless entertainment that will help them forget they are being under-compensated and undervalued. For now, let’s hope Delta employees are able to get both a union and a new gaming system.
The direct relationship we have with our employees is at the very core of our strong culture and it has enabled continuous investments in Delta people. Our employees have the best total compensation in the industry, including the most lucrative profit sharing program in the world. They want and deserve the facts and we respect our employees’ right to decide if a union is right for them. Delta has shared many communications, which on the whole make clear that deciding whether or not to unionize should not be taken lightly.