A union trying to organize ground workers at Delta Air Lines says it has been visiting employees at their homes because the airline is restricting access to them at work.
The International Association of Machinists union said in a memo to Delta's chief executive that employees have complained about managers telling workers not to meet with organizers and related "how Delta managers question workers who are seen speaking to union representatives, and how union literature is routinely destroyed by your managers."
Tension has been rising between Delta management and unions that represent employees from merger partner Northwest Airlines, which want to represent workers at the combined carrier. The IAM represents Northwest airport agents and baggage handlers, among others.
Last week, Delta CEO Richard Anderson said some Delta workers have complained about unannounced home visits by IAM organizers. Some workers said organizers were frightening spouses and children and even blocking driveways, Anderson said in a taped message to employees. He told workers to call the police if they felt threatened.
The memo from IAM president Stephen M. Gordon to Anderson said those allegations are untrue.
The union plans to continue visits to employees' homes "because it was very effective," according to union spokesman Joe Tiberi.
Meanwhile, the union said it is gathering evidence of interference with its efforts. Under National Mediation Board rules, employees are guaranteed the right to organize without interference of management.
Delta said the union has been "bombarding" employees with materials. "We would not expect the IAM to admit to some of the aggressive tactics that are being reported by concerned Delta people," the airline said in a written comment.
The IAM would have to win a vote to gain representation of the combined workforces of Delta and Northwest, following a showing of sufficient interest by eligible workers.
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