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UPDATE: Delta Pilots Ratify New Collective Bargaining Agreement

Delta Air Lines aircraft at the gates - Delta Pilots ratify new bargaining agreement

Delta pilots will receive raises over a four-year period once the contract takes effect.

After a long and involved negotiation process, Delta Airlines pilots voted recently to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with the airline management. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 82 percent of the eligible pilots voted in favor of the new agreement. The leadership for the pilot’s union voted 15-4 to recommend the agreement for approval, despite some small reservations. “It’s not everything in every area that we want, but it’s very good,” said Steve Uvena, the negotiating committee chairman for the union.

Delta pilots will receive raises over a four-year period, starting with an immediate pay raise of 18 percent, retroactive to January 1, 2016, once the contract takes effect. They’ll then see additional raises of 3% in 2017, 3% in 2018, and 4% in 2019. John Malone, the chairman of Delta’s ALPA (Air Line Pilot’s Association) unit had this to say in a letter to the pilots released along with the vote results, “The ratification of this new contract ensures Delta pilots remain among the very top of airline pilot wages earners and recognizes the value we bring to the recent unprecedented success of Delta Air Lines.

Captain Tim Canoll, the President of ALPA, was also pleased with the agreement, calling it a testament to the power of unity. “The contract, which marks significant progress for Delta pilots and also for United Airlines pilots, serves as an example of our union’s determined efforts to work to restore some of the lost pay and benefits that so many of our members sacrificed to help their airlines emerge from bankruptcy in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Canoll added that the contract also reflected ALPA’s commitment to  ensuring all pilots, regardless of who they fly for, are able to share in the success of the company, especially in times of record profit. “Today’s results showcase our union’s ability to work collectively to not only secure agreements for our members that recognize the integral role that pilots play in their companies’ achievements but also help create an airline pilot career that will continue to attract the best and brightest to the profession.

Update 9-26-16: Delta Pilots Picket at Headquarters

Delta, according to ALPA, is “highly profitable and successful” and despite taking large pay cuts during Delta’s 2005 bankruptcy, the pilots have yet to see the benefits of that profit.

In a recent letter to the Delta pilots, Captain John Malone, the chairman of ALPA’s Delta Pilot group, said “…it is way past time for these negotiations to be concluded in a manner that reflects the contribution we add to Delta. Everyone else has been rewarded: other employees, shareholders. and management.” [Click here to read more…]

Original Post 7-14-16: Delta Pilots Prepare For Additional Strikes

Delta Air Lines Pilots on Strike - Delta Pilots Strike Center Opened
Photo: courtesy of ALPA / Delta MEC

Right now, Delta is not having an easy time with their pilots. A group of retired Delta pilots just got the go ahead to continue with a pension-based lawsuit, and active Delta pilots have been striking as negotiations for a new bargaining agreement drag on.  And in an effort to help their negotiating position with Delta, the Delta Master Executive Council (MEC), represented by the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), has opened a Delta Pilots Strike Center. The center, based in Atlanta, will serve as an operating hub for directing pilot participation during the negotiations and for organizing any strike-related activity, if and when a strike becomes necessary.

Captain John Malone, the chairman of the Delta MEC, had to say about the ongoing negotiations, “While we are fully committed and have dedicated all necessary resources to reach an agreement this summer, we are preparing for any eventuality allowed to us under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), including efforts from informational picketing to a legal strike.”

It’s now been six months since the current contract’s amendable date was passed, and sixteen months since the negotiations began. And in March, Delta and ALPA jointly requested that the National Mediation Board step in and start playing a role in the negotiations.

Letter to the Chairman

In a recent Chairman’s Letter, Captain Malone summarized their goals for the negotiations, “All other stakeholders—management, the other employees, investors—have now been rewarded . . . except for the Delta pilots. It is time for Delta [management] to acknowledge our investments in the corporation, address the rising market for pilots, ensure Delta will continue to be able to attract the best of the best and take the necessary steps to recognize the Delta pilots as equal business partners as we move forward together to write the next chapter in Delta’s story.

In addition to the fully staffed strike center, local Strike Committee leaders will be maintained in each Delta hub. The Delta Pilots Strike Center and other activities are being funded in part by a recent $5 million grant from ALPA.

Featured Image: Eric Salard, CC2

Anders Clark was introduced to aviation a few short years ago, and has developed an interest in aviation history and what the future of aviation will bring. A writer and editor, Anders enjoys researching and sharing the stories of aviation.