Holiday travel: Delta CEO says no pilot strike during peak demand period | Tech US News

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Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian assured travelers Monday that his pilots will not strike during the critical holiday season.

“There is no way they will [pilots] could go on strike for Thanksgiving, Christmas or anytime,” he said when asked about the impending strike threat during an interview on the “Today” show. “I say that with confidence. There is no strike,” added Bastián.

If they did, it would be “against the law of the land,” Bastián added.

However, the union said that is not the case.

Delta pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), tweeted that “CEO Ed Bastian was wrong” and that “US law allows unions to strike.”

DELTA PILOTS OPEN VOTING FOR STRIKE AUTHORIZATION As Contract Negotiations Fail

The comments came a week after Delta pilots voted overwhelmingly to authorize union leaders to strike, if necessary, to secure a new contract agreement with the airline.

Delta planes at Boston's Logan Airport

Delta Air Lines passenger jets rest on the tarmac, July 21, 2021, at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File/AP Newsroom)

The union is frustrated by the length of time it is taking to reach an agreement, saying its pilots are working under wage rates, contract provisions and benefits that were negotiated six years ago. Negotiations for a new contract began in April 2019, but were halted in March 2020 for nearly two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Talks resumed in January 2022.

Delta Air Lines

Travelers move through the Delta Air Lines ticketing area in Chicago. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)/Getty Images)

Bastián said on Monday that the two sides are in mediation with the National Mediation Board and that there are many stages to go through before a strike is possible.

Delta also issued a similar statement last week, saying that “under that federal law, there are many steps left in the process and many opportunities for collective bargaining before a strike is even allowed to be considered.”

DELTA AIR LINES PILOTS NATIONWIDE PICKET FOR BETTER CONTRACT Amid FLIGHT DISRUPTIONS

Before a strike can take place, ALPA says the National Mediation Board must decide that any further mediation efforts would not be helpful and offer both sides an opportunity to arbitrate the contract dispute. If either side declines, then ALPA and Delta enter a 30-day “cooling off” period, “after which pilots and management can engage in self-help: a union strike or a management lockout,” according to the ALPA.

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Bastian said he was confident there would not be a strike even after the 30-day period, which could come around Christmas.

The chief executive also expressed confidence in the pilots’ union and the carrier’s ability to reach an agreement, saying “we’re actually a lot closer than people want to think, in terms of getting this deal done.”

Delta told FOX Business last week that “ALPA’s stated purpose for the vote is simply to gain leverage in our pilot contract negotiations, which continue to progress under the normal process established by the Railroad Labor Act and in collaboration with the National Mediation Board “.

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The carrier also said it trusts, after making significant progress in the negotiationsthat both parties will reach a “fair and equitable” settlement.

The negotiating committee will return to the table this week to negotiate the remaining high-value items, according to ALPA.

The union says any “lack of serious and realistic movement at the table … would obviously undermine any claim by the Company that it is trying to conclude negotiations in a timely manner”.

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