Don’t allow Delta Air Lines to leave hundreds of Canadian employees jobless - URGENT!

Don’t allow Delta Air Lines to leave hundreds of Canadian employees jobless - URGENT!

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Jameela Mohammed started this petition to Delta Air Lines

In every country that Delta Air Lines has employees at international airports, these employees are tasked with even more than just customer service and ramp work. The Delta employees at international airports such as but definitely not limited to Montreal’s YUL, Toronto’s YYZ, Calgary’s YYC, Vancouver’s YVR, and more are tasked with more responsibilities due to the fact each flight in and out of Canada on Delta is international. Canada’s Delta employees are paid less to do more than the same jobs in the United States, and Delta Air Lines wants to lay off hundreds of hard-working and dedicated Canadian employees that love their jobs at Delta.

Delta Air Lines has claimed that they are overstaffed in Canada by about sixty percent (60%). It doesn’t take a statistician to see that this simply isn’t true - in the many times I have flown on Delta Air Lines to Montreal as well as several other airports in Canada, it’s very obvious Delta employees are never bored or left without a task to do. Delta prides themselves on their award-winning customer service, which is the reason I am loyal to Delta Air Lines, just like many other travellers. Laying off a significant amount of Canadian employees would not only leave many employees without a career, but would also lead to a significantly large negative difference in the customer experience that passengers have with Delta employees. It is impossible to give the same quality of service to each passenger when there are less employees available to contribute to Delta’s high standard of safety and service.

There are many issues that Delta must consider before laying off Canadian employees:

  • Firstly, less employees at Canadian airports goes hand-in-hand with less flights in the future as airlines recover from the COVID-19 pandemic; it takes an entire team to make each flight happen. Less future Delta flights to and from Canada may cause Delta Air Lines to lose their competitive advantage over Canadian-based airlines such as Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing Airlines, and Air Transat. Rumor has it that Delta is considering codesharing with WestJet for future flights in and out of Canada, but as an American with Medallion Status that regularly flies to Canada (and only on Delta), I think I can speak for most if not all HVCs (high-value customers) when I say that we want to remain passengers on Delta Air Lines. We have seen the product that airlines such as Air Canada and WestJet have to offer, and we have chosen to stay loyal to Delta. If customers like me that frequently fly to Canada and are loyal to Delta Air Lines are forced to travel on another airline when flying to and from Canada in the future, Delta Air Lines’ Net Promoter Score will drop, and it is possible that Delta could lose a very large portion of their Canadian customer base. 
  • The second issue is that layoffs are based on seniority. With the number of Canadian Delta employees that are looking at likely/possibly losing their jobs in the coming weeks, the issue isn’t just that people who have had decades-long careers will lose their way of making ends meet, but there will be a major shortage of younger employees willing to do the jobs that employees with more seniority don’t want to do. Younger employees still in the beginning of their career with Delta Air Lines are eager to learn and learn quickly, represent Delta’s brand well on social media, and are quick to pick up on trends and potential hazards (e.g. gate-checking smart bags with built-in batteries). Keeping younger employees with less seniority is crucial. For airport staff to work effectively in the coming years, there needs to be age diversity so that employees with more seniority can teach the employees with less seniority what they have learned during their time and experience at Delta Air Lines. Employees with less seniority can use this mentorship from colleagues to become even better employees over time and continue Delta’s mission: “The work of an airline is, at its core, about connecting people with communities, with experiences and with each other. Making connections is Delta’s mission. And as a purpose-driven brand, our leadership and employees understand we have an obligation to make the world a better place. It’s a mission we embrace – both as a corporation and, even more powerfully, as 80,000 people living and serving people across the world.”
  • The third issue is that current Canadian Delta employees are incredibly privileged to have insurance through Delta Air Lines that they would not otherwise get at any other normal job in Canada. High quality dental insurance, life insurance, vision insurance for those that need it, easy access to mental health resources, and more, are not readily available through the Canadian government’s healthcare system. Losing these benefits would undoubtedly cause families to suffer as they get back on their feet after losing the job that allowed these benefits in the first place. More than ever before, aviation workers are seeking mental help and therapy for the anxiety and depression that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused as well as the constant uncertainty about the future of their careers. The way Delta has provided both American and Canadian employees with resources for an individual’s mental health is almost unheard of at most companies and has kept Delta one of the best companies to work for.

During this terrible pandemic, everyone has been affected, with the air travel industry struggling the most. Despite the current hardships that airlines are facing, we all (passengers, employees, shareholders, etc.) have faith that Delta will come back stronger from this hardship like they have every time. After the heartbreaking disaster of 9/11, Delta Air Lines was one of the few American-based airlines to stay strong as a company. During the recession in 2008, Ed Bastian successfully pulled Delta Air Lines out of bankruptcy and turned Delta into a stronger airline. As a result of Mr. Bastian’s efforts, Delta Air Lines has won several awards, including making the top 100 on the Great Place To Worklist four years in a row. (This makes Delta a Fortune 100 company.) Analysts at Great Place To Work have also listed Delta Air Lines as one of the Best Places for Diversity, Best Workplaces for Millennials, and Best Workplaces For Women. Great Place To Work’s analysts also found that ninety percent (90%) of survey respondents said they “want to work at Delta for a long time.” It is no secret that Delta and its employees are leaders in the air travel industry—not just in the United States—but worldwide.

It takes a team effort to bring home some of the most prestigious awards companies can earn, and that’s exactly what Canada has: excellent team players and leaders. Together, Delta employees have accomplished a lot, from donating over nine thousand pints of blood to winning awards for being one of the “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion” and “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality”. (For a list of all awards and recognitions Delta has received, click here.) Canadian employees have played a major role in winning these awards. It is well-known that Canadians are infamous for being friendly and inclusive people, which makes them a huge asset to Delta Air Lines. 

Delta has taken cost-cutting measures to avoid laying off employees in the United States. Since Delta Air Lines prides itself on their employees being part of one big “Delta Family”, we politely ask that the same consideration be given to employees representing the company and its values in Canada. As part of the “Delta Family”, Canadian employees do not deserve to be treated differently than the Americans with the same job titles. As a supporter of this petition, I ask that Delta allow Canadian employees the opportunity to continue connecting the world and with communities to help make the world a better place; creating opportunities for cultural understanding and economic growth; putting empathy and humanity into everything they do; allow them the opportunity to continue to be the faces that address environmental impact; and continue to support and encourage diversity and inclusion. For this mission to be reached, the jobs of Canadian employees cannot be taken away, and I am asking for Delta to NOT lay off any Canadian employees. There are other options such as what employees in the US were offered to avoid having to lay off American employees: for Canadians that have been with the company long enough to qualify for early retirement, those employees should be offered the same retirement incentives as American employees. For those that do not qualify for early retirement and would be willing to take an opt-out deal, it needs to be the same deal that Americans were offered. (This is why hardly anyone in Canada has taken early retirement or taken the opt-out deal - both offer so much less than what American employees were offered that Canadian employees find it ridiculous.) Many Canadian employees would also be willing to take year-long LOA to help Delta cut costs as long as it means they have a job to come back to once their LOA is over. Currently, Canadian employees are only allowed to take one month of LOA at a time and can lose their jobs while on LOA. It is not fair that Canadian Delta employees are being treated differently than American employees with and as a result, they are more at risk of losing their jobs. As a supporter of this petition I hope Delta Air Lines will use one of its five core values—perseverance—to allow all Canadian employees to keep their jobs. Forcing Canadian employees out of their careers is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Just like every setback in the air travel industry, Delta will recover from the impact of COVID-19 in time. However, the people whose careers ended too soon will feel the sting of losing a job they love at a company they love for years to come. This petition is a desperate plea that no Delta Air Lines employee in Canada has to feel that sting by being laid off.

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