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Can the afa-CWA Really Deliver on All of its Promises? Ask a Member.

Our afa-CWA (association of flight attendants-Communication Workers of America) Delta activists tell us that we need a union.  They have been trained by the union to have talking points and quick responses to questions that we may have.  However, we need to keep in mind that these afa-Delta activists are sales people.  They want you to buy into their sales pitch and vote for a union that will put them into power. They have something to gain, and it is quite a bit different from simply meeting some altruistic need.  

Our afa-Delta activists are supported by paid outsiders from other airlines who tell us that we need to join the afa-CWA.  However, no one tells us that these outsiders are paid 92 Flight Pay Loss (FPL) hours and expenses to come and work on the Delta campaign.  It seems there is more than just altruism motivating them as well.

We believe that neither of these groups are the best source of information.  Both the afa-Delta activists and afa-CWA outsiders are biased.  Both groups are receiving or expect to receive union benefits and positions should their campaign result in a successful election.

As we gather information to make our decision, we believe that we should bypass the groups that financially gain from this campaign and go straight to the line afa-CWA represented flight attendants. We see them in concourses, hotels, and vans. We expect that they will be more truthful about how the afa-CWA really operates. Ask them how they feel about their union.  To help focus them on issues that are important to us, we suggest using the following questions as a starting point.

Dues or Don’ts

1)    What are your dues?   We hear that they are going up to $516 per year.

2)    How long have you been paying dues? - - -  Wow. That is a lot of money!

3)    Did you support the afa-CWA raising your dues to $43.00 per month? Did you get a vote on the raise?

4)    Do you think that the afa-CWA is careful about how it spends your money?

5)    Do you feel that you have adequate input on how your money will be spent?

6)    Can you withhold your dues? 

7)    Are there any consequences for not paying dues?


1)    Do you think that the afa-CWA effectively communicates with you?

2)    Do you think that afa-CWA communication is honest with you?

3)    Do your phone calls and e-mail to your union representatives get answered promptly?

4)    When they do answer your calls and e-mail, do they resolve the issue promptly?


 1)    Have your wages kept up with inflation?

2)    When does your contract reopen for wage negotiation?

3)    Were you aware that Delta flight attendants have already received one raise, a bonus, and will be receiving another wage increase soon?  Does your union communicate positives about Delta to you or only negatives?    

Scheduling and Support

1)    Are your union offices adequately staffed everyday?  

2)    Scheduling is a big issue for the afa-Delta activists.  Does your union have trained representatives overseeing the scheduling crew desks on a 24/7 basis?

3)    If so, does this allow you to challenge a violation of your contract in a timely manner?

4)    If not, are you just told to fly it and grieve it later?

5)    Do your company and your union maintain separate contract interpretation manuals?

6)    If you grieve a scheduling conflict, how long does it take to resolve?


1)    Do you know that the afa-CWA is paying your union representatives 93 Flight Pay Loss (FPL) hours to “volunteer” on the Delta campaign?

2)     Are things running smoothly enough at your carrier that you can afford to have these people away from doing your work and helping Delta flight attendants? Is all the “union” work getting done?

3)    Do you support the Delta campaign?

4)    Is it fair that you have to pay for it?

5)    Do you feel that your can force the afa-CWA to stop organizing Delta, or is that a decision that you and your fellow union members cannot change?


1)    When does your contract open for renegotiation?

2)    Have you taken any pay cuts since 9-11?  If so, how many? Did you have a contract when/if you took pay and benefits cuts?

3)    In contract negotiations, who gets the upper hand, your company or your union?

4)    Did you have any work rules modified since 9-11?

5)    Are you better of now than you were before 9-11?

6)    Did the union save your retirement?

afa-CWA International 

1)    Do you think that your carrier has enough voice in afa-CWA affairs?

2)    Do you think that the little (big) carriers have too much influence?

3)    Is your International President an effective leader?

4)    Did you support taking the afa from a stand alone union to becoming a small subunit of the Communication Workers of America?


1)    Would you ever run for union office?  Why? Why not? 

2)    What is a scab?

3)    If there is a strike and a person needs to work to keep their medical benefits, is it okay to cross a picket line?

4)    How long does a scab list last?

These questions should yield a different picture of life under the yoke of the afa-CWA.  It is not the respect, dignity, and voice that the afa-Delta activists and the paid outsiders have been promising us. 

Now, you should be prepared for some of the flight attendants to say that they would never “not have” a union. This is understandable.  They have been trained since probation to believe that they need a union to protect them.  Union communications are geared to reinforce this dependence.

The take-away point is how they feel about the afa-CWA.  If the majority of the flight attendants have issues with the afa-CWA at their respective carriers, we will have those very same issues if we invite the afa-CWA onto our property. 

We believe that you will find that the afa-CWA is failing its members already. The afa-CWA is more talk than effective action.  Just because its parent union can pay for flight attendant sales people and a pretty public relations campaign does not mean that the afa-CWA is fit to represent us.  Remember, the threat of a union is better than a union - especially one as inept as the afa-CWA.

 Keep Delta afa-CWA free!


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Last modified: December 13, 2008