The Washington Post
Delta pilots approve benchmark contract
Pilots at Delta Air Lines have ratified a new contract that includes over $7 billion in cumulative increases in pay and benefits over four years and is widely expected to be a benchmark for contract negotiations at rival carriers.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents Delta’s pilots, said on Wednesday that 78 percent of the carrier’s pilots voted in favor of the contract.
Both American Airlines and United Airlines have promised an “industry-leading” contract to their pilots. As a result, their pilots say that any proposal seen as inferior to Delta’s will probably have no takers.
“Delta has raised the bar,” said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for American’s pilots union. “Repairing a pilot’s work-life balance and the scheduling practices under which they are flying are the core issues along with the compensation.”
Delta’s new contract provides a 34 percent cumulative pay increase, a lump-sum one-time payment, reduced health insurance premiums and improvements in holiday pay, vacation, company contributions to 401(k) and work rules.
It will cover 15,000 Delta pilots and come into effect on Thursday, ALPA said.
United’s pilots have been conducting informational pickets to express frustration over delays in contract negotiations. American pilots, who received their last pay increase in 2019, have also been protesting for a new contract.
The new contract showcases the bargaining power pilots are enjoying as carriers rush to staff up to keep up with travel demand.