Delta flight attendants to remain non-union

Delta Air Lines flight attendants will remain non-union, after the National Mediation Board rejected an appeal by a union that contested the outcome of a vote last year.

The Association of Flight Attendants union lost the election, with about 51 percent of votes cast against unionization. The highly contentious campaign pitted some pro-union flight attendants against anti-union colleagues in vitriolic disputes.

The union claimed that Delta improperly interfered in the election, saying flight attendants had reported “coercive and unfair methods used by management to influence the results.”

On Friday, the National Mediation Board rejected the claims of interference.

“It is time to turn the page,” Delta executive vice president Mike Campbell said in a written statement. He also said the company hopes for similar decisions for pending appeals in other Delta representation elections.

AFA vice president Sara Nelson said the Mediation Board’s decision is “outrageous, and it’s shocking.”

The representation election resulted from the 2008 merger of mostly-unionized Northwest Airlines with mostly non-union Delta. The vote was to determine whether the combined group of about 20,000 flight attendants would be unionized.

The Mediation Board decision allows Delta to fully integrate the flight attendant group. Delta said it will immediately increase pay for Northwest flight attendants to Delta flight attendants’ hourly pay rates.

The International Association of Machinists union also lost representation elections among employees including baggage handlers and customer service employees, and has filed interference charges that are still pending.