A Delta flight attendant who says workers were abused by passengers calls for a better sick policy to help them recover from the stress

·2 min read
Delta flight attendant.
Flight attendants at Delta are pushing to unionize.Paul Sancya/AP
  • A Delta flight attendant says she and her colleagues put up with "so much" abuse from passengers.

  • The Atlanta-based worked made the comments in an interview with The Guardian.

  • Delta flight attendants are currently engaged in a push to unionize.

A Delta Air Lines flight attendant says the company should offer a better sick policy so workers can take days off to recover from stressful working environments.

Shemeka, the flight attendant, spoke to The Guardian on the condition that it used only her first name. Delta does not allow employees to speak to the media unless requests are approved by the company, The Guardian reported.

According to Shemeka, employees put up with "short-staffing" and being "abused by passengers, verbally and physically." Her comments come during a period of prolonged travel chaos.

Representatives for Delta Air Lines did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

In July, Delta's CEO Ed Bastian apologized to passengers who had been impacted by cancellations, delays, and long wait times in recent months, as Insider previously reported.

The widespread disruption has also proved difficult for flight crew members. Insider's Hannah Towey reported in July that flight attendants said they were jumping through hoops to be paid amid rampant flight delays. And they had to do so while dealing with "irate" passengers caught up in the chaos.

In her interview with The Guardian, Shemeka, the flight attendant, said: "I would like to have a seat at the table when it comes to negotiating my work group, my compensation, my work-home balance, and the only way to accomplish this is to bring our collective power to the bargaining table."

A Delta spokesperson told The Guardian: "Delta flight attendants have chosen a direct relationship over union representation three times before because they know that when they speak, we listen and can act."

"We believe the direct relationship our leaders and our people have today is stronger, faster, and more effective in driving improvements at Delta than AFA has shown to be," they said, in reference to the Association of Flight Attendants.

It was reported in April that Delta would become the first US airline to pay flight attendants for boarding time. It came amid a push to unionize by flight attendants. Organizers said at the time that it seemed like Delta was "feeling the heat."

Delta is the only major airline in the US where flight staff are not represented by a union, per The Guardian. Unionizing efforts are ongoing.

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