ATLANTA (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc Inc on Monday said workers in its TechOps maintenance department rejected union representation, handing the carrier another victory in its bid to remain largely union-free.
The voting result marks the second defeat this month for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which also failed to garner a majority vote among Delta baggage handlers last week.
The National Mediation Board said that of 607 valid votes counted from Delta TechOps Stores workers, 439 votes were cast for no union representative, while 168 votes favored unionization, including 166 votes for the machinists union. The agency said 673 employees were eligible to vote.
The TechOps Stores employees manage the flow and supply of parts for the Delta plane maintenance and repair division.
The machinists union said in a statement it was investigating “allegations of widespread illegal election interference” in the TechOps Stores and baggage worker elections.
Votes among big worker groups were set at Atlanta-based Delta this fall to resolve whether thousands would be fully unionized following the 2008 purchase of Northwest Airlines. The airline’s pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA union lost its attempt to represent about 20,000 Delta workers earlier this month. It has charged that Delta management interfered in the election.
Delta customer service agents, a group that numbers about 16,000, are currently voting to decide whether the machinists will represent them, and those results are due to be announced next month.
In a statement, Delta said the TechOps Stores workers marked the eighth employee group in which representation has been resolved for more than 41,000 employees since the Northwest merger.
A landmark change in federal labor law took effect this year under which the outcome of union elections at airlines and rail companies is now based on votes cast. The previous long-standing rule required a majority of an entire work group to approve unionization, effectively counting those who did not vote as “no” votes. Unions supported the rule change.
Late last week, the machinists union said it filed for elections for 2,200 office and clerical workers at Delta. If enough of those employees indicate interest in a union, the National Mediation Board will set a ballot election.
Shares of Delta were down 6 cents at $13.70 in afternoon trading on Monday.
Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Steve Orlofsky