(CTN News) – On Monday, Delta Air Lines pilots voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike, but travelers are not advised to change their tickets at this time.
A revised contract has been negotiated between the pilots and the carrier since April 2019 and mediation has been taking place since February 2020.
Between March 2020 and January 2022, the negotiations were on hold due to COVID-19. Although a vote to authorize a strike does not necessarily mean a strike will occur, union representatives say it is an imperative part of the negotiation process.
“Our pilots have stated clearly that they are willing to strike in order to obtain the contract we have earned,” said Evan Baach, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Our goal is to send a clear message with this strike authorization ballot.
When could Delta Air Lines pilots strike?
Despite the overwhelming majority of Delta Air Lines pilots voting in favor of a strike, planes are unlikely to be grounded tomorrow.
A strike cannot occur until the National Mediation Board determines that additional mediation efforts have been ineffective. It then offers the parties an opportunity to resolve their contract dispute through arbitration.
The ALPA statement stated that if either side declines the arbitration, both parties are entitled to a 30-day “cooling off” period after which they may engage in self-help – a strike by the union or a lockout by management.”
Since negotiations are ongoing, there is no definite timeline for these next steps.
While Delta Air Lines has recovered from the pandemic and is poised to be stronger than ever, posting record revenues for the third quarter, our negotiations have been dragging on for too long,” said Captain Jason Ambrosi, chair of the Delta Master Executive Council at ALPA. “
The goal is to reach an agreement, not to strike. It is now time for management to get serious at the bargaining table and invest in Delta pilots.”
Delta pilots are negotiating for what?
Delta Air Lines pilots last ratified a long-term contract in 2016, and the terms of that agreement only extended into 2019. This means they have not received a pay increase for about three years.
“It has been a long time since we negotiated our last contract,” Baach said, noting that Delta Air Lines has raised pay for other work groups and invested in foreign airlines in the meantime.