Over 100 members of Congress have signed a letter to Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian urging the company to not interfere with employees' efforts to form a union.

Lawmakers want Delta to adopt a neutrality agreement ahead of any vote to unionize. Organizers have been working for over a decade to unionize Delta employees but began a fresh effort in November 2022.

Richie Johnsen is the general vice president of air transport for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). He said Delta itself has been the union's largest obstacle in organizing.

“Anything from firing our activists to things [like] posting posters in the break room about our organization which are just false,” Johnsen said. “Posters about, you know, 'Why pay union dues when you can buy a PlayStation?'”

The IAM is working with the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and Teamsters in a joint effort to gain representation for technicians, cargo workers, flight attendants and related employees.

In the letter to the CEO, congressional delegates stated the retaliatory actions by Delta are “hostile to workers’ rights”.

IAM Air Transport Coordinator James Carlson has been listening to complaints from Delta workers. He said even with high base pay and profit-sharing, Delta employees don’t have the benefits a union contract secures.

“They get less vacation pay; they get less holidays,” Carlson said. “They don't have the overtime rules that we have. So when you add it all up, these Delta workers are getting shortchanged — and they know that.“

Carlson said employees' greatest concerns are around job safety, job security, and the lack of recourse for workplace incidents.

Delta has over 50,000 employees. It is the only U.S-based air carrier where most workers are not represented by a union.