More than 1,200 Delta pilots and employees took part in seven airport-wide protests on Thursday calling for higher pay, among other things, while cancel the flight continue around the United States on the eve of the holiday weekend.
Protests at major airports in New York City, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Los Angeles showed Delta employees holding signs with messages including: “Contracts” industry leading NOW.”
Reed Donoghue, a Delta pilot who has been with the company for six years, said the last time a contract was negotiated between Delta and its pilots was in 2016.
Donoghue told NPR by phone: “Our message today to Delta management is that it’s time to talk about securing an industry-leading contract. “And you know, [for] You know, passengers flying this weekend, know that there is at least one crew member on their flight, be it a flight attendant or a pilot, who is likely to work overtime on their day off to help keep the activity going. “
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In addition to higher pay, Delta pilots are looking for a better work-life balance, health insurance, retirement and job security, Donoghue said. So far in 2022, he adds, Delta pilots are ramping up late summer to increase overtime compared to 2018 and 2019.
Delta told NPR that Thursday’s employee protest will “not disrupt our operations for our customers.”
“Earlier this year, Delta, ALPA, and a representative from the National Mediation Board restarted our mediation contract negotiations that were halted for nearly two years due to the pandemic,” Delta told NPR. in a statement. “Our goal remains to continue to provide Delta pilots with an industry-leading overall contract with the best compensation based on salary, retirement, work rules and profit sharing. I’m also committed to ensuring our contract language supports our ability to run a world-class operation, maintain a strong balance sheet and invest in our business for our clients. our customers and employees.”
Thursday’s protests come a day after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speak that he has called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the US Department of Transportation to take action to reduce cancellations and delays by airlines.
With demand for air travel soaring, airlines have struggled to keep up, in part due to pilot shortage. When faced with problems such as inclement weather, many airlines were forced to cancel entire flights.
Lance Wilson is a campaigner with Workers’ agency who believes Delta employees “deserve the compensation they deserve.”
“Over the past six years, inflation and the pandemic have caused the cost of basic needs to skyrocket, so Delta needs to stop exploiting their employees and pay them a premium,” Wilson told NPR via email. living wages for the valuable work they do.
Additional reporting by Jonathan Franklin.