Delta faces criticism for telling workers to spend money on video games instead of union dues

Delta hoped to seal a deal ahead of schedule. Now it heads back into negotiations with the pilots union.

Delta hoped to seal a deal ahead of schedule. Now it heads back into negotiations with the pilots union.

As a union seeks to organize workers at Delta Air Lines, the company has ramped up its own campaign against the union -- and raised some eyebrows with a head-turning flyer.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) has tried for years to organize Delta workers, and is collecting signed cards from Delta ground workers and flight attendants to call for a unionization vote.

Atlanta-based Delta has launched its own campaign, including websites and apps criticizing the IAM and urging them not to sign the cards calling for a unionization vote.

The IAM posted a picture of a flyer posted in a Delta break room that suggests workers should spend their money on a new video game system rather than on union dues.

Delta acknowledged that is one of its flyers, and said in a written statement: “Delta has shared many communications, which on the whole make clear that deciding whether or not to unionize should not be taken lightly.”

The company said its employees “want and deserve the facts and we respect our employees’ right to decide if a union is right for them.”

Delta is now facing criticism from union advocates on social media for the flyer.

Not everyone criticized Delta for the campaign against the union.

And others offered different perspectives.

The union also tweeted images of other Delta flyers:

The IAM said Delta’s relaunch of its campaign against the union came after the IAM on Wednesday worked with other unions to meet in Amsterdam with Delta flight attendants who signed cards. The union said it also has a “major outreaching initiative to thousands of Delta ramp workers.”

“The campaign has been invigorated,” said IAM assistant airline coordinator James Carlson.

The conflict between the IAM and Delta has a long history.

In 2015, after the withdrawal of the IAM’s petition for an election to organize flight attendants at Delta, the National Mediation Board said it referred the matter to the U.S. Justice Department for review.

Delta said then that the National Mediation Board, which governs labor relations at airlines, wrote in a letter that it had “reason to believe that some unknown person or persons knowingly submitted authorization cards with fraudulent signatures in possible violation of federal law.”

Pilots are the only major unionized employee group at Delta.

The IAM contends Delta ramp workers and flight attendants should be able to collectively bargain for compensation, benefits and work rules.

Delta contends its employees are well-compensated and that a union would “insert a middleman between Delta people and leaders.”

More recently, the IAM says it has gotten complaints from some Delta flight attendants about skin reactions and other symptoms that they believe are caused by the airline's new uniforms.