Domenica Rohrborn contacted me a few weeks ago.
Did I realize, she asked, what was going on?
I confess that I do not always realize what is going on. Maybe it’s because I rely on Twitter to keep me informed at all times.
Rohrborn, however, wanted me to focus. She explained that there was something going on in the airline world, something that had been going on for a long time.
You see, when you get on a plane, you expect the flight attendant to smile at you, welcome you, and maybe even offer you a drink – if you’re generous or traveling with company money – the stewardess is not paid.
“I started a petition,” said Rohborn, a former flight attendant.
A petition? Oh, this will work, I thought. How many times do people start petitions and nothing ever happens? (Most of the time.) But I clicked on the link and there were 120,000 people complaining about this situation, which dates back to the days of the railroads.
Yes, flight attendant schedules mimicked railroad schedules. Therefore, as Rohrborn explained, “We are only timed for our flight hours. When pilots take breaks. Not when we have customers on board or delays or mechanical issues. Even if the FAA tells us requires performing specific tasks related to security procedures and interacting with customers.”
This may sound slightly ridiculous. It may also be something airlines have taken advantage of for decades.
What made a Delta Air Lines announcement last week so odd. Suddenly, from the bright blue sky, Delta said it would now pay flight attendants for boarding.
It’s not full pay, you understand. The airline will pay 50% of the standard hourly rate for boarding. Which is 50% more than the nothing they received before.
Naturally, I asked Rohrborn what she thought of it. Did I mention his petition now has over 160,000 signatures?
She told me it was “an absolutely historic victory”.
However, she added: ‘The rules for this new boarding pay scale aren’t quite ideal – flight attendants still have unpaid time and need to be on the plane earlier. there isn’t much clarity on what other incentives they usually see. does not cover mechanical issues, delays or airport stops. Really we should be paid 100% of our hourly rate for this period since we are 100% present and working, and that we can be 100% fired.
And then there’s the possibility of something being taken from the flight attendants as a twisted balancing act.
I can feel you jumping for joy. Maybe the stewardesses will now be even nicer on your next Delta flight.
I don’t like to temper your elation, but I’d like to offer you a potential reason – other than “aren’t we wonderful?” — for this move.
Delta is facing increasing attempts to unionize its flight attendants. Unlike those at many other airlines — and, indeed, pilots at Delta — the airline’s flight attendants aren’t unionized.
But looking at what’s happening everywhere from Starbucks to Amazon to Apple, many are realizing that now could be the opportune time for unionization to happen. Which, of course, fills Delta’s leadership with indigestion.
It’s much easier when you can hire and fire at will. Even though, according to many, Delta is one of the best employers in the airline industry.
“Our time is precious and worth fighting for,” Rohrborn told me. It’s a sentiment heard by so many employees across America.
Perhaps then the 160,000 signatories of Rohrborn’s petition made a difference. Or maybe Delta saw this as an opportunity to blunt the unions and gain some positive publicity.
It’s definitely needed a little delay.