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Delta Pilots Start Strike Countdown

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Delta Pilots Start Strike Countdown

Old 30th Mar 2001, 18:16
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Exclamation Delta Pilots Start Strike Countdown


Here we go again...

Getting these high American wages is kinda like making laws and sausages, I'm afraid.
_____________________________________


March 30, 2001

Delta Pilots Reject Arbitration Offer,
Triggering 30-Day Cooling-Off Period

By MARTHA BRANNIGAN
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


ATLANTA -- The Air Line Pilots Association, representing 9,800 pilots at Delta Air Lines, rejected an offer of arbitration from the National Mediation Board, triggering a 30-day cooling-off period to a possible strike at the nation's third-largest carrier by April 29.

The decision comes as a strike at Delta's Cincinnati-based commuter unit, Comair Inc., dragged into a fifth day with no new talks scheduled between the pilots union and the carrier, which has grounded all 815 daily flights through Thursday.

The countdown to a potential strike at Delta turns a spotlight again on President Bush's recent statement that he would "take the necessary steps to prevent airline strikes this year." To intercede, he first would have to receive a recommendation from the National Mediation Board to create a Presidential Emergency Board, although he could clearly press for one. An emergency board would postpone a strike for an additional 60 days beyond the cooling-off period while it attempted to broker a settlement. The mediation board, which set the 30-day clock ticking as of Friday, hasn't yet made such a recommendation, though it could do so at any time.

"The president is very concerned about any strikes that could cause disruptions," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said. "He urges the parties to work together constructively to reach agreement." As for political pressure, she said the National Mediation Board is "an independent organization," but added that "the president has indicated that all the parties need to be responsible in this matter" including the mediation board.

The countdown to a possible strike increases the likelihood that Delta customers will buy tickets on other carriers in an effort to avoid any travel disruptions.

The move by the pilots to reject arbitration was expected. Charles S. Giambusso, chairman of the master executive council at ALPA, said: "We believe everyone is best served by allowing the collective-bargaining process to move forward, and we are confident we will be able to reach an agreement with management prior to the end of the 30-day cooling-off period."

Still, Capt. Giambusso told fellow pilots in a letter Thursday that ALPA is distressed that the prospect of government intervention will undermine the collective-bargaining process. "The political environment in Washington, D.C., has turned sharply against working families," he said, adding: "We must counter a White House that has indicated a willingness to act when airline managements decide government intervention is preferable to resolving labor issues internally."

Thomas J. Slocum, Delta's senior vice president of corporate communications, said Delta is "prepared to resume negotiations and reach agreement as soon as possible," but he also cited President Bush's statement, which he made March 9 when he created an emergency board to deal with the dispute between Northwest Airlines and its mechanics. Labor disputes are continuing at ARM Corp.'s American Airlines and AL Corp.'s United Airlines.

The National Mediation Board set meetings with Delta and the union for the week of April 16 in a bid to reach a settlement during the cooling-off period. The board had made the offer of arbitration last week after federally mediated contract talks between Delta and the union hit an impasse. Atlanta-based Delta had immediately accepted the offer of arbitration, saying it was eager to avoid service interruption, but union negotiators asked for time for labor leadership to mull the possibility of resolving contract differences through arbitration, in which both sides are subjected to a settlement imposed by a third party.

The parties have been in heated contract negotiations for 19 months, but remain far apart on important issues at Delta Express, the airline's low-fare unit.


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Old 30th Mar 2001, 21:35
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Glad to see the DL guys fighting for their worth! Go Get 'em!

....we at AA are next.
 
Old 31st Mar 2001, 12:22
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Good luck to y'all at AA also.

To wander off the topic, I'm curious about COMAIR, being Delta-owned. WED night we taxied to gate A-5 at JAX, and there was no COMAIR CRJ to have to slowly go past, which was at the end of the concourse the week before.

Are the Delta pilots refusing to fly any and all routes which were flown only by COMAIR crews? It seems a little strange to me that routes flown by Delta might be critical to Pres. Bush, but routes flown by 50-seat jets could not be that vital...maybe, after trying to sound tough like Reagan wanted to appear in the early 80s, Bush Jr. (his father Bush Sr. was/is a good friend of Mr. Lorenzo) is trying not to "bite off more than he can chew".

Good luck to COMAIR and Delta bringing their mgmt negotiators back to the tables. A few years ago, our mgmt negotiators walked out about three hours BEFORE our midnight deadline, and refused to come back and continue. The company had mistakenly planned their strategy, hoping for a PEB with no back-up plan, i.e. to recruit former Eastern or Continental Super-Scabs.

Even though the only scabbing was to ferry planes for maintenence (hoping to demonstrate to the Executive Branch the lack of a critical national transportation asset), some of the scabs were former Boeing factory pilots. At least one Seattle FBO (near a maintenence facility), has no security fence and happily, no telephoto lenses were needed to easily approach and record nervous faces, car license plates etc. You know what? Some houses are beautiful photography subjects, framed by the dark tall trees of the Cascades...

[This message has been edited by Ignition Override (edited 31 March 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Ignition Override (edited 31 March 2001).]
 
Old 1st Apr 2001, 11:45
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Comair's RJs are double-parked all around the Comair terminal and at their mx hangar across the field at CVG. I would venture to say it's the same at MCO (their other hub). I'm going to write my senators, congressman and our supreme court-appointed president to beg them not to intervene in a DAL strike. I hope it doesn't go that far.
 
Old 3rd Apr 2001, 01:47
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All of you ALPA pilots, now's your chance to help their cause as well as your own. Log onto the ALPA website under members only http\www.ALPA.org and it will lead you through the easy steps to write your congressman, senators as well as our supreme court appointed president and tell them that you are strongly opposed to big-government intervention in negotiations. We don't want Bush to get into the habit of appointing PEBs every time negotiations come to a head. A PEB could be coming to negotiations near you next time if we don't get this practice stopped now.
 
Old 3rd Apr 2001, 07:09
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DAL makes a reasonable offer, ALPA rejects. DAL suggests binding arbitration, ALPA rejects. Wonder what ALPA is afraid of....a "reasonable" settlement perhaps? The greedy DAL pilots sure sound as though they WANT a strike. Where is Frank Lorenzo when he is needed? Sure hope George W. cracks the whip, big time.
 
Old 3rd Apr 2001, 08:08
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411a - I guess "reasonable" must be in the eyes of the beholder. Maybe we should elect you as the judge of "reasonable"? DAL ALPA ought to hold out for what THEY think is "reasonable".
 
Old 3rd Apr 2001, 08:52
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What mid- or long-term successful airline did Lorenzo ever build? He could not use his dirt-cheap labor costs after the strike as an excuse for his failure. Milking many millions in assets and pure cash into his pockets might have been a related factor.

If Lorenzo (or Icahn) do not represent corporate greed, then who does?

Reagan and Bush Sr's arrogance towards and contempt for America's workers might possibly have been a factor.

Are Americans supposed to drink without question any "corporate Kool-aid" which is poured out from airline PR departments?

 
Old 3rd Apr 2001, 09:54
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I know I shouldn't bother, but....411a how many airlines have you scabbed for?
 
Old 3rd Apr 2001, 19:23
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Turtlenest-
None, have always worked overseas for foreign flag carriers on long term contracts.
The DAL pilots need a reality check. With a business downturn in the making, why would they think that the hard-nosed management at Delta would want to compromise, with George W. in the wings ready to clip their collective wings, especially as Delta agreed to arbitration?
 
Old 4th Apr 2001, 00:52
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411A,

If the Delta pilots can hold out for more, they should. Why should they agree to arbitration if they COULD get more money otherwise? Would you forgo that extra money? I didn't think so...

Delta's management has been delaying for something like 18 months - the contract was supposed to be signed in May of last year. Instead of working on a timely and fair solution (note United's deal), Delta's management has aggrevated the pilots by stretching this thing out forever. Yes, the pilots are now angry for waiting so long - and they want payback for being treated like cr@p in 1996 (most people forget about the cr@p that went on back then when the pilots were screwed).

Do you remember what collective bargaining means? You are only worth what you negotiate! Delta has a good economic "model" with an excellent network and an excellent aircraft mix, and it stands to make more money once its pilots are pacified and continue to accept overtime flying... Management needs to recognize that employing upset and vindictive people in a service business is a recipe for disaster! Improve upon United's deal and then move on - it is as simple as that. Then you can focus on making money once again.

411A, it sounds like you need an attitude adjustment. You have likely been stepped on in the past and are still bitter - maybe you should apply to Delta and finally make what you are worth (only what you negotiate).
 
Old 4th Apr 2001, 03:45
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LAVDUMPER-
No attitude adjustment needed, ALPA will find that DAL is a hard nut to crack. And, never was "stepped on", not bitter at all, no need to join Delta, have worked overseas for over 30 years, almost all tax free.
 
Old 4th Apr 2001, 06:01
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411A: I'm not trying to analyze you or anyone else, but am just curious as to whether pilots working overseas (at the better companies?) on contracts, receive about the same salaries as the locals, if not better, and whether any individual contracts were directly influenced by strong solidarity during negotiations for the main pilot group. Were those companies well-run, compared to the better US and European airlines? It sure sounds like a very interesting career with much variety.

I'll admit again that my anti-"corporate shark" bias is due partly to my father's retirement at TWA after 30 years from a Captain's salary equal to other airlines' 12th year MD-80 First Officer salary, not including the fraction of everyone's pension going into Icahn's pocket. Many Ozark pilot were treated even worse. Rarely is mention made on PPrune about the TWA pilots giving up 40% of their salaries for years, to help TWA survive being owned (and bled) by such corporate swine. Many former pilots at Eastern had to leave the profession forever because of the crippling disadavantage of being a pilot applicant at 45-55 years old, or because most smaller US flight operations pay new pilots about what bank clerks receive.

As for Delta and COMAIR situations, companies run by regular mgmts and stockholder ownership, in order to settle contracts, both sides must make some sort of compromises. Is it not a two-way street?
 
Old 4th Apr 2001, 06:24
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Ignition Override-
Yes, it is indeed a two way street. If an airline is making record profits (Atlas, for example) then the pilots deserve a large slice, make no mistake. Have noted however the refrain from ALPA that...."we will get it no matter what it takes". Large company losses and high payroll burden in lean economic times do not make for job security. And would have to certainly agree with you about TWA, Icahn absolutely blead them dry.
Overseas contracts have generally provided higher pay than the locals because the expats are not permanent employees. Enough locals trained, goodby contract pilot. No problem there, just move on to the next contract.
 
Old 4th Apr 2001, 21:10
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Maybe some should ask ALPA, what is 'their' objective in the DAL contract?

What was ALPA's goal when United absorbed the old 'Frontier' airlines? How the Frontier pilots went from a three-man crew, a to two-man crew against ALPA demands: and when Frontier was absorbed into United: mechanics and Flight Attendants went with the airplanes and gates: Funny thing at the eleventh hour the pilots were left behind. Gosh, how could that happen, with America's most arrogant union?

Or the head of ALPA, and the mechanics union bosses, standing in front of the hangar door of Eastern Airlines, when they closed the doors: both with their fist in the air, saying "we won" and thirty thousand employees were out of work. Who won?

Delta pilots beware, who know what lurks in the mind of ALPA, only the shadow knows. It is interesting, there only two unions at DAL.



[This message has been edited by heaveymetal76er (edited 04 April 2001).]
 
Old 5th Apr 2001, 07:42
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Lorenzo didn't win, which was ALPA's aim. ALPA later reneged on their deal with the EAL pilots and hung them out to dry, but since ALPA president, Larry Shulte, was put on DAL list and remained head of ALPA for a few more years, I guess he won.
 
Old 8th Apr 2001, 23:49
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Question


Is a deal in sight? I hear Delta is offering improved Scope language to ensure that additional mainline flying doesn't go to the Delta commuters. In exchange, Delta would continue to receive work rule and book rate relief for the Delta Express 737 operation ("Air Sunshine" started to combat the nemesis of Valujet).

The Delta pilots will steadfastly support the efforts of the Comair strikers, just as they supported the Eastern strikers years ago...


_____________________________

Sunday, April 08, 2001

Delta deal within reach, head of pilots union says


By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Labor relations at Delta Air Lines might be improving.

Delta is the Atlanta-based parent of regional carrier Comair, the Northern Kentucky carrier that has been grounded by a pilots strike for 14 days.

After almost three years of negotiations, a new deal between Delta and its nearly 10,000 pilots could come after a couple of days of talks, according to the chairman of the pilots union.

In an interview with the Enquirer, Chuck Giambusso said the two sides are “48 hours ... two long, hard days of negotiation away from an agreement.”

Mr. Giambusso's comments came the same week Delta chairman Leo Mullin said he was confident a deal could be reached without a strike.



“There still is a lot of work to be done, but both sides are going into this round of talks having done a lot of work and the options are there,” said Mr. Giambusso, chairman of the Master Executive Council of Delta's branch of the Air Line Pilots Association. “There is no reason to believe we cannot resolve this dispute in negotiations with the company.”

That 30-day cooling-off period began March 29, when binding arbitration was rejected by leaders of the pilots union. Talks began in May 1999 and entered federal mediation last December.

There are about 9,700 Delta pilots, including about 1,000 members at Delta's second-largest hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

If the two sides don't reach a deal and President Bush doesn't receive a recommendation by the National Mediation Board to step in, the pilots could strike at 12:01 a.m. April 29.

Such a strike would shut down the airline, and with the 1,350 pilots at Delta subsidiary Comair already on strike since March 26, the local airport would be all but deserted.

The Delta/Comair tandem controls about 95 percent of all flights from the airport.

The two sides are to meet at mediation board offices during the week of April 16, but no times have been scheduled.


Big issues to settle
Mr. Giambusso said 20 out of the contract's 28 sections have been closed, and one includes definitions that will be settled after the main issues are decided.

The remaining sticking points remain compensation (salary and retirement), raising pay at Delta's low-cost carrier Delta Express and what to do about the growth at regional carriers such as Comair — which mainline pilots think is taking routes and jobs away from them.

According to company officials, the two sides are still about $1.5 billion apart in total compensation, and that big issues remain to be settled.

But Mr. Mullin, who also is Delta's chief executive officer, expressed optimism that the airline, the nation's third-largest, would avoid a strike.

He was quoted by Reuters as saying chances of a strike were “virtually zero,” although he said the Atlanta-based company has been hurt economically just by the threat of a walkout.

“There is an extremely substantial book-away problem occurring at Delta right now,” said Mr. Mullin, whose company has already warned it would post a loss for the first quarter, which would be its first since March 1996.

Mr. Giambusso said he would be disappointed if President Bush were to step in and prevent a strike by appointing a presidential emergency board, as he did in March to stop a strike by Northwest mechanics. An emergency board would extend the cooling-off period by 60 days, after which the pilots could strike if Congress decides not to intervene.

“But on the other hand, and I want to be clear on this, if the president steps in, we would be very much in support of his decision and would not stand against the president,” Mr. Giambusso said.


Mutual support
Mr. Giambusso said he has been following the Comair strike closely, even meeting with his counterpart at Comair's pilots union, local chairman J.C. Lawson III, last week.

The two branches of the same union disagree on job protection, with Delta pilots seeking limits on growth at regional subsidiaries while Comair is seeking to protect future seats on planes purchased and have no limit on future growth.

But Mr. Giambusso said many Delta pilots have even walked the Comair picket lines at the airport, and that apart from that issue, the two groups are in agreement.

“If they get what they are seeking at the expense of us, we would support them, as we would hope they would support us,” Mr. Giambusso said. “That isn't to say they wouldn't be striving for more, as is their right. But it has been really overblown how much in conflict the two pilot groups are.”

CONTRACT ISSUES
Here are the main issues separating Delta Air Lines and its 9,700-member pilots union:
• Compensation: The pilots are looking to surpass the industry-leading contract signed by United pilots last year that included bumps in salary, pension and retirement benefits, along with better work rules.
Union officials would not give details of their current proposals.
The company proposal would make pilots the highest-paid and increase compensation 33.9 percent by the end of four years.
Pilots union chairman Chuck Giambusso called the pilots' retirement proposal “aggressive” and indicated there might be room to give.
• Delta Express: Included in the 9,700-member pilots union are 560 pilots at the airline's low-cost unit Delta Express, which was created in 1996 and primarily serves the Northeast and Midwest-to-Florida markets — avoiding the company's main hubs in Atlanta and Cincinnati.
Those pilots are paid less than their mainline counterparts, even though they fly Boeing 737s, so the pilots are looking to equalize pay.
The company has said it is willing to raise pay to levels higher than those at other low-cost carriers such as Southwest, and said it is open to further discussion when talks resume.
• Job protection: The pilots are seeking a limit on the use of code-sharing, or using other airlines through mutual agreement to carry Delta passengers, arguing that such a practice takes jobs away from them.
In addition, they are seeking a limit on the growth of Delta Connection carriers, which include Erlanger-based regional Comair. Comair pilots have been on strike since March 26, and one of their issues is to protect their current and future jobs and to have no limits placed on Comair.
Delta has said it would limit future purchases of Canadair Regional Jets to 50-seaters, although it would keep the options on the 75 70-seaters on order. And Delta has said to its pilots that 85 percent of Delta Connection flights would be less than 900 miles and it would limit Delta Connection flying between cities served by the main line to no more than 6 percent of flying by the smaller carrier.


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Old 9th Apr 2001, 09:40
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good luck to all you folks involved in labor disputes with your employers...we see at the ALPO website how harshly we deal with super-scabs.....we call them names for a few years...then we invite them to join the union! The vote is in progress for the folks at CO as we speak...
 
Old 10th Apr 2001, 03:16
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On behalf of all Delta pilots, I'd like to thank almost all of your for you support. Many of you appear to be truely informed and aware of what has transpired in the past 5 or 6 years. We are, of course, in an economic downturn at the moment. Remember, though, that our contract expired a year ago. We also rode out a huge economic boom under a concessionary contract (we gave 1 billion dollars worth of concessions to offset mgmnt blunders) signed in 96, just as the economy took off. For 401A to infer that we should lower our sights now, due to the economy, would suggest that mgmnt should just stretch out negotiations for every contract to the next downturn. Maybe we'll end up working for free within my career span. Airlines do not live in the moment and neither does ALPA. After this downturn will be a recovery, then another correction or downturn, etc....
Delta mgmnt is not my enemy. This is just how the game is played, and at this stage the game becomes very public.

[This message has been edited by Brad737 (edited 09 April 2001).]
 
Old 13th Apr 2001, 18:49
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Now it looks like the strike is on again as Delta fishes for a Presidential Emergency Board...

___________________________________________

April 13, 2001

Delta Air Lines Says Presidential Board
May Be Needed to Prevent Pilots' Strike

By MARTHA BRANNIGAN
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


ATLANTA -- Delta Air Lines, estimating that it faces a $1.7 billion gap in contract negotiations with its pilots, said that a "Presidential Emergency Board may be needed" to avert a strike at the nation's third-largest carrier.

Negotiations reached an impasse on March 22, and the Atlanta-based carrier's 9,800 pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, are in a 30-day cooling-off period, which expires April 29, before they are able to go on strike. With the strike deadline looming, the two sides are set to meet Wednesday in Washington, D.C., for mediation under the guidance of the National Mediation Board in a final push to reach a negotiated settlement.

Delta's statement was a signal not only to its pilots but to Washington decision makers that it may not be willing to sweeten its offer much. Delta said it is confident President Bush will intervene in light of his stated intentions to "take the necessary steps" to prevent an airline strike this year.

Delta's move comes as Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta in recent days has prodded the two sides to negotiate a settlement to avert the need for presidential intervention.

Karen Miller, a spokeswoman for the Air Lines Pilots Association, said union officials are concerned that the prospect of presidential involvement will deter Delta from negotiating in earnest. "We hope they will work on reaching an agreement and not rely on government intervention," she said.

Union officials have said Delta's pilots deserve to be compensated for concessions made in the previous contract, especially in light of strong profits in recent years.

Both Delta and the pilots' union have intensified their public-relations campaigns in recent days. The union unveiled its high-tech strike centers, which are set up in nine cities, while Capt. Charles Giambusso, ALPA's chairman, stressed that a contract is still within reach during the cooling-off period "if management would be committed to negotiate."

Delta reiterated Thursday that it "has offered to make its pilots the highest paid in the commercial airline industry." It said the company's proposal would increase costs by about $2 billion during the next four years, while the pilots' proposal would raise those costs by about $3.7 billion. Delta said its pilot costs, including pay and benefits, totaled roughly $1.7 billion last year. The union hasn't disclosed its own cost estimates for the respective contract proposals.

The two sides, which have been in talks since September 1999, are still at odds over pay rates, retirement, job security, pay rates for Delta's low-fare unit, Delta Express, and retroactive pay.

"ALPA's stated requirements for contract improvements do not provide a framework for a reasonably affordable negotiated settlement," Delta said. "In the absence of a willingness by ALPA to work toward a solution that is economically realistic, there is little reason to believe that an agreement can be reached during the 30-day cooling-off period."


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