Home World Delta pilots vote on potential strike as contract talks drag on

Delta pilots vote on potential strike as contract talks drag on

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Delta pilots picket for a better contract outside JFK International Airport.

Leslie Josephs | CNBC

Delta Air Lines Pilots have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if contract talks between the carrier and the union fail to produce an agreement, a labor group said Monday.

The strike will not be immediate and requires the approval of the federal National Mediation Council. The Air Line Pilots union said it wants a contract, not a strike.

Covid has disrupted contract negotiations across the airline industry starting in 2020. Negotiations have since resumed, and the vote to strike by Delta pilots underscores the difficulty of reaching agreements.

Pilots for US carriers like Delta and competitors American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines recently picketed major airports to demand better contracts as the industry returns to profitability.

“Meanwhile, our negotiations have dragged on for far too long. Our goal is to reach an agreement, not strike,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, chairman of the Delta Master Executive Board of the Airline Pilots Association. “The ball is in the management’s court. It’s time for the company to get serious about the negotiating table and invest in Delta pilots.”

Delta said the vote would not affect its jobs because pilots are not on strike and that the carrier and the union have made “significant progress” in their negotiations.

“ALPA’s stated purpose for the vote is simply to gain leverage in our pilot contract negotiations, which continue to advance through the normal process established by the Railroad Labor Act and in partnership with the National Mediation Board,” the airline said in a statement. “We are confident that the parties will reach an agreement that will be fair and equitable, as we have always achieved in past negotiations.”

Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines pilots voted to authorize a potential strike. The pilots of this airline recently signed a new contract with the company.

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