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Delta Accused Of Systematic Harassment And Discrimination

Delta Air Lines has just announced enhancements to their Boeing 777 seating configuration; providing travelers with more personal space than most competitors. Delta employees have also begun sporting a new, mostly purple, uniform collection designed by Zac Posen.

To the traveling public, it may seem like things at Delta just keep climbing; however, there are a growing number of flight attendants that claim they’ve experienced a darker side of Delta that isn’t normally shared in the company’s press releases.

When Delta went low, they hired a lawyer

A lawsuit, filed in the federal court in New York, describes how bad things can quickly turn when Delta management decides an employee’s religion, ethnicity, age, disability, race, and/or health is no longer a good fit for Delta. A group of flight attendants decided to fight back against the multifaceted harassment they’ve received at Delta. Unfortunately for Delta, the publicity this lawsuit brings may not fit with the company’s public relations plans.

Ethnic/Racial Profiling

According to the filing, Delta management has targeted flight attendants who are of Jewish, Hebrew and Israeli ethnicity. In one case, Delta fired a Jewish Israeli flight attendant for calling in sick due to the side-effects of prescribed medication.

In many of the cases, Delta has used alleged travel policy violations as grounds to suspend, discipline and/or terminate employees who claim they’ve been profiled. Most have been wrongly accused of allowing strangers, who also happen to be Jewish and Israeli to use their buddy passes.

Age Discrimination

Flight attendants who are over forty and senior are also being targeted. Armed with manufactured and embellished charges, management has employed repeated discipline and investigation as a means to harass and intimidate employees who happen to fit a certain age and/or seniority profile.

We’ve often heard from older flight attendants who’ve suffered injuries on the job, such as in turbulence, and were subjected to ongoing refusals of medical treatment and sick pay; some were eventually forced to retire. Flight attendants who’d complained to government agencies were also retaliated against using a number of methods ranging from frequent interrogations and performance reviews to being placed back on probationary status based on their attendance records or subjective passenger feedback. This has not only happened to flight attendants who were injured on the job but also to some who were battling serious illnesses such as breast cancer.

Newhire Delta flight attendant tour Delta Flight Museum — “Earning Our Wings” YouTube series produced by Delta

Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, has spoken publicly of the airline’s desire to “freshen up the workforce” by bringing in more millennials and lowering the average age. Of course, since Delta doesn’t have plans to drastically increase the overall size of the flight attendant workgroup, their plan would require the airline to rid itself of plenty of older flight attendants and only hire lots of young ones. Both of these things, as mentioned in the lawsuit filing, clearly appear to be happening.

From a 2016 Delta News Hub interview:

“There’s no question that the face of Delta’s employees is changing, it’s becoming younger…We have got to stay ahead of that change and make certain that our product and our service offerings are fresh”

Headline from DeltaNet:

“Delta commits to hiring young American workers for ‘First Job”

The Delta Hit List

Former Delta managers have shared with us that Delta’s random drug testing of employees isn’t always so random. The program is used routinely to “rough up” employees who’ve somehow ended up on Delta’s hit-list. Some employees have experienced multiple drug tests per month combined with other types of discipline which have caused undue stress.

The practice of subjecting selected flight attendants to excess drug testing is regularly combined with other methods of harassment that Delta can claim are company policy.

More to come

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Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants Picket Airline For A Living Wage

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Over 20 Air Wisconsin flight attendants picketed at the airport of Appleton, Wisconsin, which is home to the regional carrier that pays many of them as little as $15,000 a year and bases them in some of the most expensive areas of the country.

“To live in Washington DC on these wages is nearly impossible. People may say for me to get another job, but someone will still have to work for $15, 000 a year in Washington DC! What management is doing to hard working people is not right!” — Air Wisconsin flight attendant

“They are living in poverty wages,” said Toni Higgins, an Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International staff representative and former flight attendant to USA Today Network-Wisconsin

Ernie Lazernick, president of the Air Wisconsin unit of AFA-CWA to USA Today

“A lot of them end up working extra jobs, so they’re working 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet and pay their health care bills and food and lodging and their rent,” she said. “They want to take good care of their passengers and when you’re stressed about not being able to pay your bills, it’s really hard on them.”

“The airline industry has been very profitable over the years, and it’s their time to increase (flight attendants’) wages to a living wage.”

Lazernick pointed out that although AirWis management has refused to raise the pay of flight attendants since 2007, they have been offered bonuses.

Ernie Lazernick, president of the Air Wisconsin unit of AFA-CWA, said flight attendants are guaranteed 70 hours a month with a starting pay of $17.51. The company has so far responded with an offer of a 1.8 percent raise, and a subsequent offer of 2 percent.

 

 

 

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