FACT CHECK: Did Delta Air Lines Encourage Employees to Buy Video Game Consoles Instead of Joining a Union? – Snopes.com

FACT CHECK: Did Delta Air Lines Encourage Employees to Buy Video Game Consoles Instead of Joining a Union? - Snopes.com
Delta told its workers to buy video games instead of unionizing
Delta Airlines is passing around anti-union posters comparing union dues to the price of a new console, implying the latter will bring employees more joy than the former. And this particular message is uniting both gamers and pro-union labor leaders in a single message: WTF, Delta?

The message, a poster emblazoned with a non-brand-specific controller, was spotted by Common Dreams writer Eoin Higgins. It reads, Union dues cost around $700 a year. A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union. At the bottom is a URL for Deltas anti-union site, along with the slogan, Its your money. Dont you think you should keep it?

Union dues are what keep unions running by, in part, financing the salaries of attorneys and other organizers who help unionize workplaces and negotiate with bosses. They also provide money for strike and other welfare funds for members. In states with right-to-work laws, workers can opt out of paying union dues, which cripples unions power and leverage against managers. While its true that most workers do pay money to be union members, contracts typically include provisions that guarantee workers pay raises well beyond what theyre paying in dues.

Wow, so were not even trying for a subtle message here, are we? Similar posters surfaced tempting users to spend their union dues on baseball tickets and a few rounds on a night out watching football.

Lets get the obvious out of the way first: a video game console and union membership are not even remotely in the same stratum. Speaking as someone who does spend around $700 on gaming per year — because this isnt so much a job to me as it is a subsidized smack habit — even Im saying, Dafuq, Delta? In what universe do you think its alright to talk down to your employees by implying mindless entertainment should be given more consideration than union membership? Even someone who doesnt endorse or agree with the purpose of unions would have to agree one is substantially more important to the current labor landscape than the other.

Delta Air Lines all-out assault on their employees legally-protected right to unionize with the Machinists Union is confirmation that our campaign to bring the benefits of IAM-representation to 40,000 Delta ground workers and flight attendants is succeeding, the Machinists Union said in a statement.

And apparently the internet agrees with this sentiment. Within moments of the poster hitting Twitter, derisive tweets from offended gamers and labor leaders alike began lighting the company up. The hashtags #dobetterdelta and #gameoverdelta began trending. It attracted the attention of gamers who, as part of their job, belonged to unions:

The fliers, which have been around for about a year but only came to light Thursday on Twitter, use typical anti-labor rhetoric about union dues to dissuade workers from organizing. In this case, they suggested dues money could be better spent on video games and beer.

Video games, baseball, and football? Really @Delta? Our workers want a voice on the job. #GameOverDelta #1u pic.twitter.com/AdSgxSxVHh

The fliers, which have been around for about a year but only came to light Thursday on Twitter, use typical anti-labor rhetoric about union dues to dissuade workers from organizing. In this case, they suggested dues money could be better spent on video games and beer.

Shame on @Delta for this condescending bullshit. A gaming system cant give you:✔️ fair wages✔️ health care benefits✔️ job security✔️ retirement benefits

The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, which is currently collecting union cards with Delta ground workers and flight attendants in an attempt to unionize them, was unsurprisingly furious about the posters.

Even Bernie Sanders weighed in, pointing out the discrepancy between the union dues and the amount Deltas CEO takes down in a year:

Delta confirmed to VICE News that the fliers are real and were distributed to employee break rooms. And in a statement with an anti-union tone, the airline said it supported its employees right to decide whether to join a union.

The most cutting tweets were from the International Association of Machinists (IAM), the union with which Delta employees were apparently attempting to organize. Needless to say, the IAM was not pleased with the condescending tone of the message:

Cover: In this July 12, 2016, file photo, workers unload baggage from a Delta Air Lines flight at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Linthicum, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The IAM said, in a statement on its site, that this is motivated by an IAM outreach that included Delta flight attendants granting their support for an IAM election in Amsterdam:

Delta has resorted to defaming and spewing lies and misrepresentations about the IAM. They also continually display anti-IAM propaganda in the workplace. These are all hallmark signs of how well the IAM campaigns are doing and how scared Delta is of their employees having a voice in their careers.

The day when Delta ramp workers and flight attendants will finally be able to bargain for the compensation, benefits and work rules they deserve is coming quickly, and that has Delta terrified.

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.

What does $700 mean to you? it said. Nothings more enjoyable than a night out watching football with your buddies. All those union dues you pay every year could buy a few rounds.

It remains to be see what, if any effect these posters will have on the Delta employees unionization efforts. One Chicago union had a great idea for how the company can mend fences:

Union dues cost around $700 a year, one flier said. A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.

Due to yesterdays uproar, it seems only appropriate that @Delta reconcile their misstep by providing all of their employees with a free Xbox. RT if you will not rest until they have ensured each employee has one. #DeltaAirlinesEmployeeXboxGiveaway

For years, Delta flight attendants and ramp service workers — the employees who, among other things, load and unload the airlines passenger planes and push them back from the gate — have been trying to unionize. And for years, Delta has tried to dissuade them from doing so, workers claim. A series of anti-union posters distributed by the company went viral this week after journalist Eoin Higgins posted a photo of one of the flyers on Twitter, sparking outrage about the companys ongoing efforts to prevent workers from unionizing.

Other posters encouraging Delta employees to spend their money on baseball game tickets and a “few rounds” while watching football have also surfaced, with all of the posters advertising the Delta anti-union website, called DontRiskItDontSignIt.com.

Union dues cost around $700 a year, one flyer 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. Other posters tell employees that they could buy tickets & food to a baseball game for a family or spend a night out watching football with their buddies instead of paying union dues.

“Union dues cost around $700 a year,” bold text on the poster proclaims. “A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.”

James Carlson, a coordinator with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers — the organization through which both the flight attendants and the ramp workers have been trying to unionize — told me the companys tactics are nothing new. Delta is probably one of the most anti-union companies in the world, he said. Theyve hired consultants to run anti-union campaigns. The flyer you saw that caused so much hubbub is just the tip of the iceberg on the tactics that Delta uses.

According to Carlson, Delta has been putting these flyers in flight attendant and ramp crew break rooms. (The flight attendants and ramp crews are trying to organize under two separate unions. Deltas pilots and dispatchers are already unionized.) Ramp workers claim Delta has capped the number of hours part-time employees can work and does not provide them with adequate health insurance, two grievances that the workers want to address as part of a union contract, Fast Company reported on Thursday — but Delta wont recognize the union.

As Splinter reported in 2018, Delta also put up a website, DontRiskItDontSignIt.com, through which the company warned employees that unionizing could cause them to lose their benefits. Meanwhile, Deltas revenue and profits are soaring.

These tactics are by no means limited to Delta. Last September, Gizmodo obtained an anti-union video Amazon provided to managers in its fulfillment centers, in which the company encouraged managers to warn their subordinates about the dangers of unionization, one of which is a threat to the [fulfillment centers] continued existence and therefore their jobs. Target, Walmart, and Lowes have all put out similar videos. The San Francisco-based craft brewer Anchor Brewing Co. tried to dissuade workers from unionizing by telling them theyd have to begin paying dues even before the union and the company could agree on a contract, among other tactics, HuffPost reported in March. And last year, Elon Musk suggested (via Twitter, of course) that unionization would cause Teslas factory workers to lose their stock options.

In a statement to Vox, Delta claimed the posters were a way of educating employees about the risks of joining a union:

I can confirm that this poster is one of many pieces of content available to our employees and was produced by Delta a year ago. The specific questions are available in the employee break piece in rooms.

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.

But unionization advocates see the flyers as a way of threatening employees, not educating them. On Twitter, reactions to the anti-union flyers were decidedly negative, with people mocking the companys attempt to sound friendly while trying to prevent employees from unionizing. Speaking personally, union dues also buy me health insurance, a stronger network to find work and stay educated on current technology, and a 401k and pension, one Twitter user wrote. So. $700 well spent.

Great work from Simpsons Against The Liberals on the Delta union busting attempt. pic.twitter.com/XcHPmfGoCB

The AFL-CIO also weighed in with a joke mocking the Delta posters. A guillotine only costs $1,200 to build, the tweet read. Deltas CEO made $13.2 million dollars last year. Get outside with your buddies, share some brews — sounds like fun. That tweet has since been deleted.

[Workers have] grown so numb to it. Its this continued onslaught of demeaning and demoralizing messages that are meant to quash the unionization effort, Carlson, the organizer, said. The workers now are really, really enthused, and theyre happy that the public has been able to look behind the curtain at Delta and see what goes on behind the scenes there. The outrage thats been expressed by the public has invigorated the employees.

A mysterious gut doctor is begging Americans to throw out this vegetable now. But, like, which? A journey through internet garbage. Millions of women take folic acid for a healthier pregnancy. Thank Lucy Wills. In the 1920s, she discovered the “Wills Factor” in Marmite. It saved lives. How golf explains Trump. Seriously. “This guy cheats like a mafia accountant.” North Dakota quietly decriminalized marijuana The state is the 25th to decriminalize or legalize weed. Game of Thrones is spending its last hours ruining Daenerys Targaryen For seven seasons, the show has told us how great Dany is. In its final episodes, its turning her into a villain. vox-mark Vox Sentences The news, but shorter, delivered straight to your inbox.