An aerospace union has temporarily withdrawn its application with federal labor regulators to organize Delta flight attendants.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) said in a statement Tuesday that it would delay an unionization vote of workers for the Atlanta-based carrier’s flight attendants because it believed a number of authorization cards were submitted with insufficient or inaccurate information.
“We thought it best to take the course of action to withdraw and go back and renew the campaign,” a union spokesman told Bloomberg News. “This campaign is not over by any means.”
Labor organizing campaigns have three phases: a card campaign, in which at least 50 percent of a company’s workers must demonstrate a showing of interest in collective bargaining by signing authorization cards; certification by federal labor investigators at the National Mediation Board; and finally an election.
The IAM petitioned the NMB in January for an election, telling authorities it had collected authorization cards from roughly 60 percent of Delta’s 20,000 flight attendants. But Tuesday’s announcement means union officials worried nearly half of those cards would not stand up to review by NMB investigators.
By withdrawing the application, the union has given itself an additional twelve months to cross the 35-percent support threshold.
Delta, which is the least-unionized carrier in the country, has not yet issued a public statement, but in a notice to employees Tuesday the company said the union’s withdrawal “appear[ed] to validate the many concerns raised by many of you when the IAM filed for the election” earlier this year.