First The Rage, Now The Fury
Last week, Delta pilots staged a
series of practice strikes throughout the nation, most notably at the airline's home airport
in Atlanta. That was, we reported at the time, a
demonstration of pilots' outrage against threatened pay cuts by
If that was rage, union leaders say Tuesday's announcement that
Delta pilots have voted to authorize a strike by a whopping
majority -- 94.7 percent, according to the Air Line Pilots
Association -- should be taken as a sign of impending fury.
"The results of this ballot will send the strongest message yet
that if Delta's senior executives are successful in their misguided
attempt to reject our contract, we will strike," union executive
committee chairman Lee Moak wrote in a memo to pilots, according to
the Associated Press.
"All too often over the past months, management has attempted to
mischaracterize the defense of our contract as posturing,
gamesmanship and, most recently, saber-rattling," Moak added. "They
At issue is Delta's request to toss out its existing contract
with pilots, thus forcing deep pay cuts that management has been
unable to obtain from pilots at the bargaining table. Delta's
request is currently before an arbitration panel that must decide
on the request by April 15.
An airline spokesman attempted to
put the best face he could on the strike vote, stating Delta
continues to work towards a mutual deal with the pilots union.
"Together with our pilots and all of our employees we remain
focused on our No. 1 priority, which is taking good care of our
customers," said Delta spokesman Bruce Hicks.
A strike by its pilots would likely put Delta -- in bankruptcy
since last September -- out of business.