Facing questions about signatures, union delays bid to represent Delta flight attendants

IndustriesAssociated Press

The machinists' union has dropped an election among Delta Air Lines flight attendants after questions were raised about support cards submitted by the union.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers says it will try again next year.

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The union's decision is a reprieve for Delta, which has the lowest percentage of union workers of any leading U.S. airline. Only 18 percent of Delta's employees are represented by a union, compared with 83 percent at Southwest Airlines, 82 percent at American Airlines and its US Airways affiliate, and 80 percent at United Airlines, according to recent filings by each company.

Unions need support from at least 50 percent of eligible workers to hold an election. The machinists' union said on its website that a number of support cards it submitted to the National Mediation Board, a federal agency that oversees airline-industry elections, had insufficient information or questionable signatures. The union vowed to renew its organizing drive and seek an election next year.

Delta Senior Vice President Allison Ausband said Monday that the machinist union's decision seemed to validate concerns raised in January when the union filed for an election.

Shares of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. fell 49 cents to close at $41.76. They have dropped 15 percent this year after rising 79 percent last year.