The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has announced it wants to become the exclusive union representative of ACS Ramp and Cargo employees. This is IAM’s third attempt to organize Ramp and Cargo employees at Delta, following a lost election in 2010 and an unsuccessful card-collection effort in 2019. IAM has also unsuccessfully attempted to organize other Delta work groups, including Above-Wing, Reservations, and Flight Attendants. 

Learn more about the benefits our people have today and the potential impact IAM could have on our future.
 

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Learn about IAM and its track record at Delta and across the industry.
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  • During the Delta-Northwest merger, IAM lost elections in 2010 for Ramp and Cargo, Above-Wing, Reservations, and other workgroups – even though they already represented those workers at Northwest. 

  • In 2015, IAM filed for an election for Delta flight attendants but withdrew the application after the National Mediation Board found that A-Cards with fraudulent signatures were submitted. They continued an unsuccessful card-collection effort at Delta for years.

  • In 2018, IAM launched yet another unsuccessful bid to represent ACS Ramp and Cargo employees. 


IAM organizers often make promises about what a contract will have, saying you can keep what you like and make improvements on everything else. The truth is that union contract negotiations are a give and take process that can take years. Any one thing that is negotiated could stay the same, get worse, or get better.

Consider just a few things:

  • During negotiations there are often no improvements to pay or work rules. For example, it took IAM 4.5 years to negotiate a post-merger contract at United and during those negotiations, there were no pay increases.

  • The most important aspects of your work-life are on the table. Do you take your company seniority if you transfer between Ramp or Cargo and Above-Wing? Can a leader help you load bags? How would bidding for schedules work? What would be the shift swapping and overtime rules? These work rules (and much more) are on the table and subject to the give and take of negotiations. At Delta, you can move within ACS and carry your full company seniority with you and your leaders can pitch in to help. This is not always true with a union contract, including pre-merger IAM Northwest contracts. 

  •  IAM "job security” is not all it’s cracked up to be. During the pandemic, we worked together to protect and create jobs while union contracts at other airlines forced competitors to deal with the downturn through furloughs. IAM's track record before the pandemic also speaks for itself. At Alaska, the ramp workforce is half what it was 10 years ago, due to outsourcing in their hubs. At United, approximately 2,300 fleet and customer service jobs were outsourced between 2013-2015. Meanwhile, at Delta we continue to work together to protect jobs and insource previously contracted work, including 2,000 new jobs over the past five years.


Contract negotiations are not quick or easy. They can take years to complete, and improvements are minimal while the process plays out. Just look at IAM’s track record at other airlines:

  • American: 4.5 years to negotiate the post-merger agreement for ramp and cargo employees. 

  • United: 4.5 years to negotiate the post-merger agreement for ramp and cargo employees. 

  • Southwest: 4.5 years to negotiate its latest Above-Wing contract.

  • CommutAir: 7.5 years to get a first contract for 150 flight attendants.

  • Air Wisconsin: 6 years to negotiate its latest contract for 180 mechanics.

The relationship between Delta leaders and the frontline has proven to be a faster, stronger, and more effective way to drive improvements than this process.

 
  • In 2021, IAM members paid dues to cover nearly $40 million in salaries and disbursements to IAM International officers and other employees. Delta employees would be worth more than $20 million in annual mandatory dues paid to the IAM.

  • Since 2013, 20 IAM officials across 16 states have been indicted on embezzlement, theft, and other financial crimes charges, with up to 5-year prison sentences.

  • In 2015, IAM filed for an election for Delta flight attendants but withdrew the application after the National Mediation Board found that A-Cards with fraudulent signatures were submitted.

  • During past IAM organizing efforts, Delta employees— and even their families—received uninvited calls, texts and visits to their homes from IAM solicitors.

Delta Delivers More For You


As you decide whether or not to sign an A-Card, it's important to consider our long track record of working together to drive change based on your feedback – without having to pay the IAM. 
 

Increasing Pay

Delta people are the highest paid in the industry, and with 12 base pay increases in the past 15 years, have seen an average increase of 80% in base pay. Also, Delta agents reach the top-of-scale after 10.5 years while agents at our competitors reach top-of-scale after 11 years. Within the scale, agents receive annual guaranteed pay increases ranging from 4% to 16% prior to reaching the top-of-scale at 10.5 years. At top-of-scale, you bring home $3,100 more in total compensation than peers at United and $8,000 more than peers at American.*

*Based on pay scales effective 5/1/23 assuming 2,080 hours.

Top-of-Scale Total Compensation for Ramp & Cargo Agents (2023)

When looking at total compensation – including base pay, profit sharing, and shared rewards – top-of-scale Delta ACS ramp and cargo employees bring home more than their peers at American and United. Take a look at total compensation for a top-of-scale ramp/cargo agent (i.e., an agent that has achieved 10.5 years of service at Delta) compared to their peers.

For each carrier = Base rate at top of scale, assuming a schedule of 2080 hours annually + Profit Sharing + Shared Rewards if applicable. (Prior 12 months earned amount)


Ramp and cargo compensation chart 2023

Ramp and cargo compensation chart 2023

 

 

Best-in-Class Profit Sharing

As we climb out of COVID, Delta people received a 5.57% profit sharing payment for 2022, versus 0.84% at United and an estimated <1% at American. Since 2015, Delta has paid $7.3B in profit sharing compared to $2.6B at United and $1B at American. Also, at United, the IAM-negotiated profit sharing plan delivers less for ramp and cargo personnel than for other workgroups.

 

Job Security

While IAM likes to talk about “job security,” at Delta, we deliver. When times were tough during the pandemic, we worked together to protect and create jobs while union contracts at other airlines forced competitors to deal with the downturn through furloughs.

Insourcing

Delta continues to insource more work — including 2,000 new jobs over the past five years. In contrast, Alaska’s IAM-represented ramp workforce is half what it was 10 years ago due to outsourcing in their hubs.

 
 

 

Shared Rewards

We kept Delta’s Shared Rewards program intact throughout the pandemic while other airlines suspended theirs. Over that time Delta employees earned $2,250 in Shared Rewards.

 

 

Career Mobility

We empower you to build lifelong careers by supporting your goals and prioritize hiring for leadership positions from within, as well as enabling movement within the business that you don’t often see under an IAM contract, such as carrying your full company seniority with you when you transfer roles within ACS. For example, at American, an IAM-represented agent may not take their seniority for bidding and other purposes if they transfer above-wing.

 

 
 

 

Leader Support

Here we can work together in a way that just doesn’t happen much under an IAM contract. For instance, your leaders can step up to work directly alongside you on the frontlines to keep things running smoothly when needed. Under a union contract, that sort of assistance could be prohibited.

 

Investing in Your Work Life

We listen to what will make the biggest impact in your work life and the operation and take action. In the past two years, we have invested almost $200 million in technology and equipment that makes your work life better.

 

 

In Their Own Words