Delta Air Lines has come under fire for a new social media policy which has been described as both “extensive” and “broadly written” with concerns the rules could “be misinterpreted to restrict lawful activities”. The newly issued policy by the Atlanta-based airline is understood to affect Delta’s 80,000 worldwide employees, including flight attendants.
In an open letter to the airline, Carla Siegel, the Deputy General Counsel for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) said she wanted to head off “any legal issues before they take place”.
Delta’s non-unionised workforce of flight attendants aren’t currently represented by the IAM but the union has been leading a high profile campaign to convince Delta staffers to change that.
Siegel, however, notes concern that aspects of Delta’s new social media policy might stifle the ability of staff to talk about their terms and conditions. She claims the policy restricts staff from posting “inappropriate” content or material that “has the ability to harm Delta” – welcoming the spirit of the rules but concerned how they might be interpreted.
Elsewhere, Delta’s new policy seems to explicitly refer to the IAM unionisation campaign, saying that concerns about “pay, job duties, coworkers, issues with company policy, or general criticisms about Delta are best directed to your manager.”
A point Siegel takes issue with, arguing the “best way to address those issues is to discuss them with coworkers in an environment where they are free from the intimidating and coercive influences of their managers”. Ouch!
The letter goes on to promise that IAM supporters within Delta will continue to have discussions on social media about job-related issues – an activity Siegel says actually strengthens the professionalism of all Delta Employees.
Yet despite the concerns of the IAM, it’s hardly surprising Delta has issued a new social media policy. One that explicitly tells staff they can’t write insensitive posts about race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation just seems common sense.
More than ever before flight attendants and other staffers are powerful brand ambassadors – the last thing any company wants is a rogue employee causing a media and customer backlash with just one foolish Facebook post.
We reached out to Delta for their take on the policy but hadn’t received a reply by the time of publication.