Today, voting closed on a historic strike authorization ballot– the first one conducted by the Delta pilots since 2006 – with an outstanding 96% participation and 99% of us voting in favor of strike authorization. Thank you to all who participated in the ballot. No matter your seniority, we are all in this fight together. Your unity and engagement are the most powerful tools we provide the Negotiating Committee to leverage at the bargaining table.
The results send an undeniable message to management: we are ready to go the distance, up to and including exercising our rights to self-help under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), to secure a contract that reflects the value we bring to Delta Air Lines. The RLA allows for unions to be released for self-help, and a strike is the ultimate action we could take after exhausting the required process. A strike is not an action we take lightly and one we hope to avoid, if possible. However, we will no longer accept further delays or excuses from management: we are willing and ready to strike.
Management’s questionable decisions have forced us to carry the heavy burden of ensuring the continued success of Delta’s industry-leading operation. This success would not be possible without the professionalism and hard work we deliver. We continue to fly record amounts of overtime, spending more time away from our families. Fatigue reports are at all-time highs and our quality of life is degraded by the scheduling “optimizer.” The barrage of corporate memos “thanking” us for our hard work devalues the significant positive impact we provide on the line every day. If we are sincerely valued members of the “Delta family,” management can thank us by bringing comprehensive, industry-leading proposals to the table and end these protracted negotiations.
One thing is clear: Delta has money to spend, reported a record windfall of revenue for the third quarter and has predicted a strong financial outlook. Further, in addition to wasting billions of dollars on pre-pandemic stock-buybacks, Delta continues to invest billions in joint ventures and millions in wholly-owned subsidiaries. Remember, as our negotiations drag on, we last received a pay raise in January 2019 and we continue to labor under a contract signed in 2016.
Delta can certainly negotiate improvements to pilot contracts in a timely manner when convenient for them. As witnessed last week, if management can come to an agreement in short order for high-value items for the Endeavor pilots, there is no excuse for the delays in negotiating our high value items. We have yet to see an economic proposal that, at a minimum, accounts for the impact of inflation on our paychecks or the value we have brought to the company since our contract’s amendable date. That is completely unacceptable.
The message we have sent to Delta management is unquestionable: we will strike if necessary. We demand, and have earned, a contract commensurate with the highly unique skill sets we provide to bring safe, professional, industry-leading service year-after-year. If offered anything less, we are ready to strike.