UPDATE 2-Delta ticket and gate agents reject union

* Three other groups voted down unionizing this fall

* Unions have said Delta interfered in elections
(Adds Delta comment)

ATLANTA, Dec 7 (BestGrowthStock) – Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N: ) gate
and ticket agents have voted to reject union representation,
dealing another blow to labor groups seeking to represent a
majority of workers at the carrier.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers (IAM), which was seeking to represent the customer
service agents, also failed to get a majority vote for
unionizing among Delta baggage handlers and TechOps Stores
workers last month.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) also lost
its bid to represent 20,000 Delta flight attendants in
November.

Elections for Delta work groups that include about 50,000
employees took place this fall to resolve labor representation
after the 2008 acquisition of mostly unionized Northwest
Airlines by Delta, the least unionized of major U.S. airlines.

The union losses bolster Delta in its bid to remain largely
union-free. But they handed setbacks to labor unions, who were
hoping to make gains following a U.S. law change that was
believed to enhance their chances of winning.

“It doesn’t matter what the rules are,” said Mike Campbell,
Delta executive vice president for human resources and labor
relations, during a reporter briefing. “Our people are saying
they don’t want to be represented by the IAM or the AFA.”

The National Mediation Board said on Tuesday that of 12,518
valid votes cast from Delta passenger service employees, which
include gate and ticket agents, customer-facing cargo agents
and reservation sales workers, 3,772 favored unionization. That
includes 3,638 machinists’ votes, while 8,746 chose no union.
There were 15,436 employees eligible to vote.

Under the federal labor law change which took effect this
year, the outcome of union elections at airlines and rail
companies is now based on votes cast. The previous rule
required a majority of an entire work group to approve
unionization, effectively counting those who did not vote as
“no” votes. Unions supported the rule change.

Delta said the ticket and gate agents were the ninth group
of workers at the carrier to resolve union issues since the
Northwest merger.

For those Northwest workers who were unionized before the
vote, dues are no longer withheld, Campbell said.
MACHINISTS PLAN INTERFERENCE CHARGES

Still, the unions have charged that Delta interfered in the
election process. Such claims, if found to be valid, could
delay Delta’s effort to fully align pay and work rules of the
pre-merger Northwest and Delta workers.

On balance, the pay of Delta employees was generally better
than that of Northwest employees, Campbell said.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA filed formal
interference claims with the National Mediation Board last
month. It alleged that Delta management used coercive methods
to influence the election, including inundating staffers with
messages urging them how to vote.

The machinists union said on Tuesday it planned to present
evidence of Delta interference in the baggage handler and
TechOps Stores votes this week, and that it would also file
interference charges in the just-ended customer service agent
election.

Campbell said Delta had until late December to respond to
the AFA interference charges, and he added that there was no
set time frame for the National Mediation Board to review the
matter.

(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; editing by Gunna Dickson)

UPDATE 2-Delta ticket and gate agents reject union