Delta Employees Getting 4% Pay Raise

Filed Under: Delta

Of the “big three” US carriers, I find that Delta has by far the best employees. I imagine this is due to a combination of factors — they pay their employees well, their employees have a higher percentage profit sharing than other airlines, and Delta management creates a clear vision for the company that employees can get behind.

Along those lines, Delta has just made a very nice announcement for employees leading into the Labor Day weekend.

Delta has announced that employees will be getting a 4% pay raise as of October 1, 2019, and that they expect profit sharing will be even better than last year.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian sent the below letter to employees to make this announcement. In addition to the general positive news, I think this letter is beautifully written, and perfectly sums up the difference in the approach that Delta management takes vs. the approach of some other airlines.

Here’s the letter:

We’re heading into Labor Day weekend, the final days of a very busy summer. I want to thank every member of the Delta family for your incredible dedication and professionalism during the busiest travel season in Delta’s history. I want to share some good news about our investments in you and how we plan to support you even more in the time ahead.

Despite the record passenger volumes, airport construction in key hubs and difficult weather, you delivered operational reliability this summer at a level our customers have come to expect and love about Delta. Because of the success you continue to create, I’m happy to announce a 2019 pay increase, effective October 1. In addition, we expect this year’s Profit Sharing Day will be even better than last year’s.

As to the much-deserved pay increases, effective October 1, 2019:

  • Ground and flight attendant scale employees worldwide will receive a 4 percent base pay increase at all steps of the pay scale, other than some international employees covered by an industry, government or collective bargaining agreement
  • Eligible merit employees worldwide will participate in a 4 percent merit pool

While I’m proud of our success, I know that it’s been an intense year and a particularly long, hard summer. Maintaining our performance levels with record loads has put a strain on everyone and stressed our people and resources. Our dedication and stamina can only carry us so far.

We know we pushed the operation and our teams harder than expected this summer. Just as important as your pay raise, we need to make additional investments to improve the tools and resources needed to deliver an even better product and service for our customers. We will be making needed investments to improve a range of areas, including staffing, catering, equipment — everything from wheelchairs to GSE — and front-line leadership development among others.

Your divisional leaders will provide more details in the weeks ahead, but we want to continue hearing your feedback and ideas on what we can fix and investments that can be made. Please keep identifying those stress points that need to be addressed. And always remember that when it comes to safety, you are empowered to slow or stop the operation in order to protect yourself, your colleagues and our customers.

Leading the Delta family as your CEO is a great honor, and I will always work to support you as we continue our journey together. Thank you for all you do and congratulations on all you have achieved.

There are a couple of interesting things to note:

  • I’m not sure that this is shade at American given their issues with mechanics, but I do find this statement to be interesting: “always remember that when it comes to safety, you are empowered to slow or stop the operation in order to protect yourself, your colleagues and our customers”
  • Delta has several non-unionized work groups, including their flight attendants and many of their ground agents, so clearly this is part of an overall attempt to keep employees happy and prevent them from unionizing, especially as Delta has been accused of suppressing unionization in recent months and years

Congrats to Delta employees!

(Tip of the hat to @xJonNYC)

Comments
  1. Good article Lucky. Thanks for the kudos.
    As a 28 year Delta employee, I can honestly say, Delta has been a great place to work. Having worked in the aviation industry for over 32 years, my previous employers were unionized. Not being unionized at Delta gives the workforce much more flexibility in completing many tasks without interrupting the operation.
    As for Ed’s note about safety, I’m confident he is referring to a recent accident at JFK that resulted in the tragic death of one of our ground crew members. Ed immediately sent out a letter to all employees emphasizing safety.

    Thanks again for the article.

  2. This is why I love Delta. They care about employees, and everyone wins as a result. Meanwhile American employees have to fight for even the most meager of pay increases…

  3. The comment about safety had nothing to do with AA or its mechanics. The comment is a reminder after the tragic loss of an employee at JFK.

  4. It just shows unions all pure bs. They make unreasonable demands and more often than not do not care about the company’s business.

    Well done Delta.

  5. Alex,

    Please be fair and accurate in comments. While it is fashionable to bash AA where do you see it that they have refused or been reluctant to give staff a pay increase?

    Did they not give staff mid period raises even before contract due for renewal? And indeed they get crucified from the same critics for doing so.

    Let the debate be lively but please be fair and accurate

  6. @Ryby

    I think is is fair not fashhionable to bash AA over this.
    Mechanics delaying flights is a great example of why AA still “have refused or been reluctant to give staff a pay increase”.

    “Did they not give staff mid period raises even before contract due for renewal?”
    Because union think it is long overdue for raise, and AA think doing so would ease the negotiation. Too bad it didn’t.

    Delta on the other hand, looks like they are being proactive in raises. I don’t remember seeing Delta employees publicly demand overdue raises.

    Is this fair and accurate enough?

  7. I recently flew on Delta. Great service from Flight Attendents. Pilots were great. My problem was ticket agents at the gate. There were 4 women standing around gossiping in ATL. I asked one of them a question and was down right ruce. I should have gotten her name and reported her. I prefer flying AA.

  8. Redistributing all of that money saved by offloading DGS. Now they can feel less guilty about providing poverty level wages to staff that work mainline aircraft, and then pulling their only meaningful benefit (flight benefits).
    I will still fly Delta, but we need to call out their hypocrisy, just as we should for all airlines.

  9. MD right on…..so true!!!! Too bad Delta doesn’t take care of their below wing personnel. Delta employees make almost x3 more than below wing. A lead agent is only getting 10 cents…..yes TEN CENTS more an hour compared to a ramp agent. Then the flight benefits….what a joke. They’re all about making money for themselves & forget about who is making them the money. Oh & let’s not forget having to be trained for other airlines too (United).

  10. @Hosea commenting on @JW’s union comment…

    Actually, it does show that and then some… Comrade!

    Unions do breed an “us against them” environment (between employees/union members & employers) that is not condusive to progress, efficiency, productivity… etc!

    Had this been a “union negotiated raise”, the union would have started by requesting a 10% raise, they would have negotiated with managment for months, convinced union members to strike, only to them end up compromising for a 2% raise and Delta would then be skimpy with its profit sharing becaise of the reduced productivity during the strike.

  11. Say whatever you like, enjoy the opinion you hold for whatever reason, THE SIMPLE TRUTH is that Delta takes better care of employees than anybody else, Delta’s leadership has been consistently better, and the fact that Delta employees value this. This is why unions, despite pouring millions of their members’ dues into fighting to get into Delta employee pockets, continue to lose elections over and over. Delta’s ability to be more flexible by working WITH its employees rather than in opposition to, provides the company far more opportunities than those burdened by the yoke of overwhelming union membership. The ultimate winners: customers, employees and the success of the company. You’ve got it Delta – keep it up! You’re world class on so many levels. Props to your employees for always striving to be the best.

  12. Delta pilots are unionized ….

    Keep in mind if you work for Delta, you may not need a union so much. They are a good company. If you work for a piece of crap airline (pretty much all) well then you need protection !

  13. Ahhh, Hello
    Don’t fool yourself for 1 second about Delta being so nice and giving raises. The Union sets the standard, Delta is following and not because they want too. Let’s be real here.
    The Union is the lesser of 2 evils in this business. Don’t think to hard, without the union, there’d be no flight Benifits, worse health insurance, no company sponsored retirement plan, bare minimum wages and no work guarantee, and if you happen to be getting older and maybe a few pounds heavier you’d be retrained from being a flight attendant to working phones

  14. Dear Eskimo

    As it relates to the mechanics have AA not offered to match either of Delta or United or Southwest contracts? I stand to be corrected.

    There may be other issues but actual pay increase does not appear to be a problem.

    Too bad they kicked out Horton. At least his team knew had a vision for the on board product and brand.

    The unions got what they wanted. Legacy AA management out to the curb. So deal with it.

  15. Dear Ryby

    I’m not involved in the negotiations so how would I know if they try to match or not. Even ‘match’ is a loaded term. But if pay increase isn’t the problem at AA then what is the issue in your opinion?

    I can’t say Tom Horton had a vision of AA or not. He was put there to ease a merger and got a nice golden parachute for doing so. I don’t think the unions wanted legacy AA out, but we all know Doug Parker BOUGHT AMR and that is the reason he is in charge.

    LOL, let the debate be lively but please be fair and accurate??

    And see @MD has grounds on bashing Delta and I agree with that comment too. The difference here is Delta isn’t treating unions like crap all across the board.

  16. The exaltation of Delta Airlines on blogs like this is just an indication of what a joke the airline industry in general has become. Ed Bastian is a greedy pig who steels money from passengers by charging fees of over $300 to change a ticket. This shouldn’t even be legal but lack of government regulation has allowed this. To add insult to injury the process of such ticket changes is often done by the passengers themselves or barely capable Delta phone agents. Workers at Delta earn poverty-level wages and they are “encouraged” not to unionize. Also, Delta has just as many lazy, unpolished and nasty employees as any other US airline. The redistribution of “profits” made off of stealing from passengers being regarded here as success and benevolence is bullshit. Don’t kid yourself.

  17. @Norris Lee

    Don’t kid yourself. It’s called USA. Try this???

    The exaltation of Apple on blogs like this is just an indication of what a joke the phone industry in general has become. Steve Jobs is a greedy pig who steels money from customers by charging over $1000 for phones with useless phone battery. This shouldn’t even be legal but lack of government regulation has allowed this. To add insult to injury the process of slowing down phones is often noticed by the customers themselves or barely noticed by Genius Bar agents. Workers at Apple earn poverty-level wages and they are “encouraged” not to unionize. Also, Apple has just as many lazy, unpolished and nasty employees as any other US company. The redistribution of “profits” made off of stealing from customers being regarded here as success and benevolence is bullshit. Don’t kid yourself. Oh did I mention child labor!!!!!!!!

    Or this?????

    The exaltation of General Motors on blogs like this is just an indication of what a joke the auto industry in general has become. Richard Wagoner is a greedy pig who steels money from customers by charging fees of over $300 to change a light bulb. This shouldn’t even be legal but lack of government regulation has allowed this. To add insult to injury they flew on private jets to ask taxpayer bailout money. Workers at GM earn poverty-level wages and they are “encouraged” not to unionize. Also, GM has just as many lazy, unpolished and nasty employees as any other US automaker. The redistribution of “profits” made off of stealing from passengers being regarded here as success and benevolence is bullshit. Don’t kid yourself.

    The exaltation of Make America Great Again …… (I should stop here)

    NEED MORE EXAMPLE ???

    You can either play the game and be winners or keep complain and be losers. Even AOC can’t help you.

  18. Well I may not be the biggest user of US based airlines, but I can say from my recent experiences (I guess they’re what matter) flying Delta & AA that Delta is not as good as they think they are. My past 4 consecutive Delta flights have all been delayed, whilst the same number on AA I have only had 1 delay. Unbeknownst to me, I sat next to a captains wife and as we chatted and I said it’s not that good an airline she said you must be mistaken for mainline over regional to which I replied no, I know the difference, she then got all snaky. They also don’t treat top tiers from other airlines like they treat their Diamond Medallions, v AA who treat other top tiers the same. Good luck to the employees for their windfall, perhaps Delta might consider looking after their partner elites like their staff, after all if they don’t fly Delta eventually the pay rises will stop flowing!

  19. Ive been on both sides of Union and Management at a very large HMO that has always had unions: both insured customers as well as employees themselves. I’m a professional and was somewhat taken aback that I would be in the union. But I got to say when they were cutting jobs, it saved my job. Unions can be frustrating because they can resist and slow change, but it doesn’t have to be. You have to work a lot on your relationship with your labor team. It can be “win-win” but it’s difficult. when times get tough, relations get adversarial. The unions do protect workers with increased safety, basic benefits, and a lot of other things that a lot of workers no longer receive as part of their compensation. They lose about 33% of compensation that way but they think that being “independent contractors“ sounds really cool, but they don’t have any paid vacation, they don’t have a 401(k), nobody is matching their 401(k), they don’t have medical Or dental covered by the employer. sounds like somebody’s making a lot of money off of them. If the unions were there that wouldnt be happening. Labor can come up with good ways to cut costs; maybe we should respect and listen to them. I retired as a director in management for well over 10 years. and I’m glad I was in the union environment. Damn varmint! Lol

  20. @Eskimo: I couldn’t agree with you more. It is disgusting what has happened in America. As Chris Hedges and many other brilliant thinkers of our time have noted; we are in the terminal stage of corporate capitalism. All the sociopaths in power want is more- and more of it. That anyone would applaud Delta for this piddly gesture is a joke. And it is true that although Delta is mainly non-union, they have essentially had to respond to union gains made off of the backs of employees at other airlines for years now. In any event, US airlines are outrageous and it’s called it the “Race to the Bottom” for a reason. Has anyone ever seen a flight attendant crash pad? 4% of jack shit still equals jack shit.

  21. Don’t forget that people are happier to work for companies who have happy customers than working with a company where they have to deal with unhappy fellow people. Delta is adding screens to all of its planes and adding the most passenger-pleasing comfortable planes out there (the A350 and A220) to its fleet, while, for example, American is removing screens and scrunching seats in the already laterally tight 737.

    At the same pay and conditions, which company would you rather work for?

  22. Delta has deep pockets & the best spin doctors!! The best at covering up the truth & spouting propaganda.

  23. They must be in bed with Qantas…I thought they had the best spin doctors or perhaps one is outsourcing to another

  24. @Jake
    “Delta is adding screens to all of its planes and adding the most passenger-pleasing comfortable planes out there (the A350 and A220) to its fleet, while, for example, American is removing screens and scrunching seats in the already laterally tight 737.

    At the same pay and conditions, which company would you rather work for?”

    Well said! Not to mention that pilots &crew on AA ,Southwest etc will have to accept being on the 737 Max aircrafts if/When they are allowed to fly again and Delta ‘s staff won’t since Delta has not ordered 1 single 737 Max.

  25. For all those who think DL is a lousy company, name an example of another Fortune500 company where employees get 4% payraise and its employees are happy. You cannot please half the crowd without pissing off the other half.

    This is far better than the 2.5% cost of living adjustment most workers get from lousy companies.

  26. Can a Delta employee please describe your satisfaction with your Defined Benefit Pension plan and health insurance? Do you feel that your total compensation, including things like retirement, sick time, health care, etc are comparable to that of unionized workers at American and United?

  27. Also, it should be noted that the most highly-paid employees at Delta are all either executives and management or union.

    It’s simply inaccurate to argue that Delta’s non-union workers are better paid than their counterparts at United and American.” The people that will get the most from this raise are all union… the people who will benefit the least are non-union.

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