Nov 1, 2022 - Economy & Business

Delta pilots weigh strike amid contract negotiations as holidays near

A Delta airplane is seen in Washington D.C. on Oct. 20. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The pilots working for two of the U.S.' largest airlines are calling on the companies to meet their demands as they continue negotiations for new contracts amid unprecedented demand for air travel and staffing shortages.

Driving the news: Ahead of the holiday travel season, Delta Air Lines pilots are warning that they're willing to go on strike to achieve higher wages, better benefits and greater schedule flexibility.

  • It's unclear if or how strikes would impact flights.

State of play: United Airlines pilots voted to reject an agreement with the company on Tuesday and said they would immediately kick off a series of informational picketing events.

  • "By the Company’s own admission, this agreement missed the mark," United Master Executive Council chair Capt. Mike Hamilton said in a statement. "That’s why both parties agreed to reengage at the bargaining table for a new, improved agreement."

Delta pilots voted Monday to go on strike if necessary to achieve their goal. Negotiations were last settled in 2016 and resumed in January after they were tabled for two years due to COVID-19.

  • "Delta has rebounded from the pandemic and is poised to be stronger than ever, posting record revenues for the third quarter," Capt. Jason Ambrosi, chair of the Delta Master Executive Council, said in a statement.
  • "Meanwhile, our negotiations have dragged on for too long. Our goal is to reach an agreement, not to strike."

Worth noting: American Airlines pilots are also considering a tentative agreement with management, NBC News reports.

The big picture: All three airlines are expecting stronger profits this quarter than previous estimates, according to their latest earnings reports.

Go deeper