DALLAS – Delta Air Lines (DL) pilots have voted to strike if talks over a new employment contract cannot be reached.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents nearly 15,000 of the carrier’s flight crew, said that 96% of its members took part in the vote, and 99% of those have backed strike action.
No strike can occur until the National Mediation Board (NMB) grants permission. The NMB would then decide if mediation efforts could occur before entering a 30-day “cooling off” period. After this, employees can choose to strike, or management can force a lockout. The lengthy and complex process means both parties would be keen to avoid such action.
The airline said that the vote would not affect its operation. In a statement, it added, “ALPA’s stated purpose for the vote is simply to gain leverage in our pilot contract negotiations, which continue to progress. There are many steps remaining in the process and many opportunities left for collaborative negotiations before a strike is even allowed to be considered.”
It went on to say that the two parties had” made significant progress in our negotiations” and were “confident that the parties will reach an agreement that is fair and equitable, as we always have in past negotiations.”
“Willing to go the Distance”
Meanwhile, ALPA said that the contract talks had gone on for too long, despite DL reporting record revenues of almost US$14 billion for Q3 2022. Pilots have been working without a new contract since December 2019. Their last contract negotiation took place in 2016.
“Today, Delta’s nearly 15,000 pilots sent a clear message to management that we are willing to go the distance to secure a contract that reflects the value we bring to Delta Air Lines as frontline leaders and long-term stakeholders,” says Jason Ambrosi, head of DL’s pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC).
Featured Image: DL Airbus A330-300 (N818NW). Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways
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