Delta Air Lines pilots have stepped up their push for better pay, insisting they will strike if they don’t get a new contract.
With 96% of members participating in a vote by the Air Line Pilots Association union, “99% of Delta pilots authorized union leaders to call a strike if necessary to reach a new contractual agreement,” said the syndicate.
Delta pilots say they are working under an outdated contract from 2016. ALPA says recurring contract talks began more than three years ago and mediated talks resumed in January.
Pilots from other airlines – particularly regional carriers – have negotiated significant pay increases this year as the airlines face a pilot shortage.
“Our negotiations have dragged on for too long,” Capt. Jason Ambrosi of the Air Line Pilots Association’s Delta Chapter said in a statement, noting that the airline had “record” revenue in the third quarter.
“Our goal is to reach an agreement, not strike,” Ambrosi said.
Leaving work will not happen immediately. ALPA says an arbitration panel must first decide on the arbitration and then enter a 30-day “cooling off” period. That means a strike could not begin until the Thanksgiving travel wave.
CNN asked the union if a strike could affect Christmas travel.
“Delta pilots are not on strike, so this vote will not affect how we operate for our customers,” a Delta spokesman said in a statement. “Delta and ALPA have made significant progress in our negotiations and have only a few contract sections left to resolve. We are confident that the parties will reach a fair and just agreement, as we have always done in previous negotiations.