Flight Attendants Union Accuses Delta of Interference

Former NRLB chief on battle between union, airline


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Well, forget Boeing, now the government going after Delta. The National Mediation Board can’t seem to understand why Delta flight attendants would vote against unionizing, so it is launching a full-blown investigation.

My next guest says no one wins when the government does this kind of stuff. Peter Schaumber is a guy who knows this subject well. He used to call the shots at the National Labor Relations Board.

Very good to have you, Peter.

What do you make of this? I guess not too surprised, but the energy with which they’re attacking this is over the top.


The union has been trying to organize the Delta flight attendants for many, many years, I think the last 18 years. This is the third election that they’ve lost. And this third election took place even after the majority, the Democrat majority on the National Mediation Board, changed the rule, a 75-year-old rule, in order to make organizing easier.

Even though they changed the rule, and even though the voters included unionized members from Northwest Airlines, the union still lost. So, the unions don’t seem to be able to say no. They filed a charge claiming that Delta interfered with the vote.

I’m not so concerned about the investigation that the general counsel has said she has to have, because, basically, what she was saying is that she couldn’t decide the issue based on the papers. What I am concerned about is that the results of the investigation are going to be decided by the same board majority that changed the rules to make organizing easier.

CAVUTO: But is this really a way to just run out the clock, in other words, keep delaying and delaying or mucking things up, so that the company can’t clearly move on, and get it caught up in court hearings and the like?

SCHAUMBER: Absolutely. I mean, this interferes with the company. It interferes with its ability to put together some of its pension plans and others with both its Northwest flight attendants and its Delta flight attendants.

And it interferes with all of the workers, because any organizing campaign results in some disruption in business. So, it’s unfair to the workers. It’s unfair to the employers, and I don’t think that...

CAVUTO: But to what end? Peter, to what end?

I mean, if you -- if you lose -- if a company like Boeing goes to a right-to-work state, like South Carolina, not firing any employees or removing them in the state it’s in -- let’s say Washington State -- just expands operations in a right-to-work state, and the NLRB comes down hard on them, and now this with Delta and all, what’s to stop companies from saying, you know what, it just isn’t worth it, we’re going to Asia, or we’re going to go to Africa, or we’re going to go to anywhere but here?

SCHAUMBER: Neil, there’s nothing to stop them.

In fact, I was in Canada. I was in Toronto, and I spoke to a group of approximately 60 Canadian businessmen for very large Canadian companies. And nearly all of them said that they had real concerns about doing business in the United States...


SCHAUMBER: ... as a result of the Boeing complaint and as a result of what they viewed as uncontrolled American labor boards.

CAVUTO: Peter, good stuff all. Great seeing you. Thank you very much.

SCHAUMBER: Thank you very much.

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