Oct 31 (Reuters) – The pilots of Delta Airlines (DAL.N) They voted to authorize the strike if negotiators were unable to reach agreement on a new work contract, their union said Monday.
The Airlines Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents nearly 15,000 pilots at the Atlanta-based carrier, said 99% of those who voted backed permission to strike.
Under US law, Delta pilots cannot leave work until the National Mediation Board gives them permission.
The Board must first determine that additional mediation efforts will not be fruitful and provide the parties with an opportunity to arbitrate. If either side refuses, both parties enter a 30-day “cooling off” period, after which the pilots and management can engage in self-help – a strike by the union or a shutdown by the management.
This lengthy and complex process makes it difficult for airline workers to strike. The last pilot raid was on an American passenger carrier in Spirit Airlines (Save. N) in 2010.
Delta said its pilots are not on strike and that the vote would not affect its operation. The carrier said “significant progress” has been made in contract negotiations, leaving only a few issues to resolve.
“The stated purpose of the ALPA vote is simply to gain leverage in our trial contract negotiations,” a company spokesperson said. “We are confident that the parties will reach a fair and equitable agreement, as we have always done in previous negotiations,” he added.
The Delta Pilots Association said contract negotiations have gone on for too long. “It’s time for the company to get serious about the negotiating table and invest in Delta pilots,” said Jason Ambrosi, Delta Master’s chairman.
Delta pilots have been operating without a new contract for nearly three years after their old contract became adjustable in December 2019.
Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio
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