On Tuesday, United Airlines pilots rejected a contract offer, intensifying fears that upcoming holiday airline travel may be impeded in a major way. That followed a vote on Monday by Delta Airlines pilots to call a strike for a new contract.
The United pilots were represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), which represents over 65,000 pilots at 40 U.S. and Canadian airlines.
“I want to thank the United pilots for their outstanding participation at this important moment in our history,” United Master Executive Council chair Capt. Mike Hamilton stated. “By the Company’s own admission, this agreement missed the mark. That’s why both parties agreed to reengage at the bargaining table for a new, improved agreement. It is vital United management recognizes that an industry-leading contract is required to hire, train, and retain the best pilots in the world for the United Next growth plan to succeed.”
But the pilots had a different perspective, writing, “Unfortunately, management has now taken a wait-and-see approach to negotiations instead of leading the industry forward. In the face of continued management delays, the United pilots will immediately begin a series of informational picketing events to bring the Company back to the bargaining table to finalize an agreement.”
“Today, Delta’s nearly 15,000 pilots sent a clear message to management that we are willing to go the distance to secure a contract that reflects the value we bring to Delta Air Lines as frontline leaders and long-term stakeholders,” Capt. Jason Ambrosi, chair of the Delta Master Executive Council, stated on Monday. “Delta has rebounded from the pandemic and is poised to be stronger than ever, posting record revenues for the third quarter. Meanwhile, our negotiations have dragged on for too long. Our goal is to reach an agreement, not to strike. The ball is in management’s court. It’s time for the Company to get serious at the bargaining table and invest in the Delta pilots.”
Before the Delta pilots can strike, the National Mediation Board has to conclude additional mediation efforts would not be productive. Both sides would be offered the route of arbitration, but if either side rejects that offer, a 30-day “cooling off” period is implemented. Then the pilots can strike.
According to a survey conducted by the travel guide The Vacationer, 43.37% of Americans plan to travel on either Thanksgiving or both Thanksgiving and Christmas. That percentage represents roughly 112 million American adults, a trifle more than the 109 million that made similar claims last year.