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Delta's plane scrubbers get back to paid jobs

At Delta Air Lines' "Clean Day" events, workers scour - unpaid. But not for much longer.

Published May 2, 2006

A program for Delta Air Lines employees to volunteer for cleaning planes on their own time winds down tonight at the airline's Atlanta hub.

More than 300 workers signed up to work four- and eight-hour shifts in Atlanta with the airline's regular contracted cleaning crews, scrubbing cabin walls, tray tables and lavatories, Delta spokesman John Kennedy said.

Delta chief executive Gerald Grinstein and about 10 other executives were scheduled to take part in the Clean Day event, he said.

Some Delta workers have privately criticized the airline, still in bankruptcy reorganization, for asking employees to work for free after taking deep wage and benefit cuts. Volunteers receive a T-shirt and reward points good for merchandise, drinks and snacks.

Kennedy called the events ''more symbolism than anything else'' to bring attention to a new program to deep-clean aircraft parked overnight more frequently. Delta volunteers have not replaced any contracted workers during the four previous events and won't in Atlanta, he said.

Turnout in Atlanta could match the number of employees who took part April 19. More than 175 executives, managers and line employees cleaned planes in Delta's Cincinnati and Salt Lake City hubs. About 60 volunteered at Kennedy International and 40 at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

No more events are scheduled for at least a year, said Kennedy.

Steve Huettel can be reached at or 813 226-3384.

[Last modified May 2, 2006, 06:15:03]

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