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Delta Air Lines is Hiking Employee Wages By 5% and Offering $19 Minimum Wage

Delta Air Lines is Hiking Employee Wages By 5% and Offering $19 Minimum Wage

an airplane on the runway

Delta Air Lines told its employees on Monday that they would soon enjoy a 5% pay rise, and the lowest-paid workers will receive a minimum wage of $19 per hour in a $500 million annual investment that will take effect on June 1.

This is the third year in a row that Delta has offered its non-unionized workforce, including flight attendants and ground workers, a pay rise, following another 5% pay rise last April and a smaller 4% rise in 2022.

The latest pay rise for Delta workers is in addition to the airline’s generous profit-sharing scheme, which this year resulted in a $1.4 billion payout for tens of thousands of employees – equal to 10.4% of annual pay per employee.

Delta’s generous approach to pay rises and profit sharing is generally explained as a way to stave off the threat of unionization, especially after Southwest’s unionized flight attendant workforce recently won an industry-leading pay deal, knocking Delta’s cabin crew off the #1 spot of top cabin crew earners.

The Atlanta-based carrier, however, says it adopted its approach to employee wages back in the “turbulent period” of the early 2000s, and executives looked at how to “boost employee morale and cultivate a workplace of gratitude and teamwork.”

That approach has pretty much worked and the majority of Delta’s employees seem pretty aligned with the airline’s mission and values.

Since 2022, Delta CEO Ed Bastian says the airline has made cumulative investments of up to 20-25% in its largest frontline workgroup – something that Delta wouldn’t be free to do if those workgroups were unionized.

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) is again attempting to convince Delta crew members to unionize, but workers who want to maintain the status quo point out the difficulties that AFA has had in winning pay raises for its members at United Airlines, where negotiations are still dragging on.

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