Delta Air Lines pilots nationwide will picket for better pay, protections, and scheduling on Thursday.
“Delta pilots were front-line leaders during COVID and the recovery. We helped our airline recover by flying record amounts of overtime and spending more time away from our families than ever before to get our customers safely to their destinations,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, chairman of the Delta Master Executive Council, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association. “It’s time for management to recognize our contributions. If Delta can invest billions in foreign airlines and its subsidiaries, it must invest similarly in its pilots.”
The pilots are seeking to resume contract negotiations that were paused indefinitely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today is an important milestone for the Delta pilots,” Ambrosi explained. “It’s been two-and-a-half-years since our contract became amendable and three-and-a-half years since the Delta pilots last had a pay raise. Meanwhile, our quality of life has eroded due to management’s unwillingness to schedule the airline properly.”
In addition to higher pay and improved retirement protections, the pilots also want adjusted scheduling. The current schedules put the airline at risk, according to Ambrosi.
“The perfect storm is occurring. Demand is back and pilots are flying record amounts of overtime but are still seeing our customers being stranded and their holiday plans ruined. Unfortunately, these problems have not led to any greater urgency from management to resolve our issues at the negotiating table,” he said.
“Our goal is to achieve an industry-leading contract. But if management doesn’t get serious, we’ll go the distance to get the contract we deserve,” Ambrosi warned.