Sep 1, 2022 - Economy

Why pilots are picketing at airports before Labor Day weekend

Airline pilots with ALPA National picket in Chicago.

Airline pilots with ALPA National picket in Chicago. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Pilots are picketing at more than a dozen airports across the country Thursday ahead of the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

Why it matters: Pilots are calling for better work conditions and benefits amid a summer of "revenge travel" that has left airlines scrambling to cancel, delay and rebook flights.

Details: Off-duty pilots are hosting "informational" picket events Thursday at airports nationwide before the holiday weekend, according to the Air Line Pilots Association.

  • These picketing took place at airports in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Boston, Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
  • Pilots from Delta, Endeavor, JetBlue, Sun Country, Spirit and United airlines participated, the ALPA said. It's unclear if pilots from other airlines joined the pickets.
  • The ALPA did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

What they're saying: "When ALPA pilots stand shoulder to shoulder in support of shared goals, people notice — our airlines notice," the ALPA said in a release.

  • "That’s why on September 1, we’re asking all ALPA pilots to join us for an ALPA-wide informational picket to show the public, our lawmakers, and our airlines that all airline pilots stand together in support of the profession-wide goal of improved working conditions and benefits."

Worth noting: These pickets shouldn't delay travel schedules since the pilots will be off shift, per NBC News.

Flashback: More than 1,200 Delta pilots and staff held demonstrations in June calling for higher pay, benefits and work-life balance, NPR reports.

The big picture: Pilots have expressed concern about compensation and their current schedules. They've also faced fatigue in recent months due to an ongoing shortage of pilots, Axios' Michael Mooney writes.

  • ABC News reports the U.S. will lose about half of its pilots to retirement in the next 15 years.

The bottom line: “We want to make sure that we’re recognized and acknowledged,” Capt. Javier Ramos, one of the pilots protesting in Orlando, told Click Orlando. “Our message is clear: Take us into consideration as we all negotiate our next collective bargaining agreement.”

Go deeper: Canceled flights complicate fall travel

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