We Are Essential Workers




Over the past year, one of the largest organizing campaigns in the country has been the effort to organize Delta Airlines. Members of Twin Cities DSA will be familiar with this campaign, as many have joined rallies in solidarity with these workers as they seek to organize over 45,000 workers at the only U.S.-based mainline carrier where flight attendants, fleet service, and mechanics are not represented by a union. This comes following several unsuccessful organizing attempts over the last decade, in a moment that in many ways seem like a turning point for the working class. Below is a message shared by Delta Air Lines worker, Pat Gores, who has previously spoken at a general meeting, about what this organizing moment means for him, and for the essential workers of our society.

Why do we undervalue Labor in our society? Why do we let the business casual folks who wear work boots for fashion, not safety, decide what we are worth? The white-collar world is flooded with articles telling them to ask for the raise and benefits they want and teaching them how to negotiate for it. Why are we denied that same opportunity?

Just a few years ago we were deemed essential workers, part of the foundation the world NEEDS to operate. While others were enjoying work-from-home situations, many of us worked straight through the pandemic, even when Delta reduced our hours by 25%. During that period there seems to have been an awakening to the actual value we laborers provide and how little we are valued by the corporations that depend on our sweat to produce the billions in profit they crave.

Without labor, people could not travel by plane, no cars would be built, no nursing care for hospital patients, no produce would leave the farm, no one to teach our children, and no sanitation to keep our neighborhoods clean. Without us, the world grinds to a halt. Ask yourself, what happens if every executive disappears for a month? How long before anyone notices? What about station management? Does anything change? (This is not an attack on management, as there are many I’m friends or friendly with. They are merely an example of how we are undervalued.)

It’s time for US ALL to understand our worth and demand it be recognized. If you’ve signed a card, talk to your co-workers and encourage them to sign one for themselves. If you haven’t signed one yet, find someone at your station who is collecting or request one from the IAM Delta site. A victory for Delta workers is a win for workers everywhere and will only encourage others to stand together in solidarity!

Submitted by Kip H