ATLANTA – The Delta Airlines pilots union has taken a first step toward a potential strike, as contract negotiations with the airline drag on.
Both sides agree that any potential strike is still a long way off, but a Delta pilot who spoke to Channel 2 anonymously, seemed pessimistic about where the negotiations are headed.
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“Those negotiations are creeping along and they’re creeping along at such a snail’s pace that this action was taken,” said the Delta pilot.
The Delta pilots union confirmed to Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon that leadership at the union, known as the ALPA, voted unanimously this month to approve a possible pilot strike vote.
“I would vote for a willingness to strike if they need arises – yes I would,” said the pilot.
Despite the union’s green light for a strike vote, so far no ballots have been mailed to the pilots.
The union says they would only take that step, if negotiations continue to falter.
“Right now, Delta and all the other airlines are flying so many flights, they are wearing out all their pilots.
They can’t hire enough pilots, ”said the Delta pilot.
Along with a lighter schedule, pilots also want better pay and benefits.
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Delta sent the following statement to Channel 2:
“Delta pilots are not on strike, so this possible authorization vote in the future will not affect our operation for our customers. ALPA’s stated purpose for the vote is simply to gain leverage in our pilot contract negotiations, which continue to progress under the normal process set by the Railway Labor Act and in partnership with the National Mediation Board. Under that federal law, there are many steps remaining in the process and many opportunities left for collaborative negotiations before a strike is even allowed to be considered. Delta and ALPA have made significant progress in our negotiations and have resolved more than the majority of contract sections. We are confident that the parties will reach a consensual deal that is fair and equitable, as we always have in past negotiations. “
But those who depend on Delta for travel, seem worried.
“I just hope they don’t go on strike,” said Delta customer, Donna Tyree. “It might impact me and what am I going to do then?”
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