Delta pilots picket across the country as busy travel weekend begins

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SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of Delta Air Lines pilots stood and marched outside the Salt Lake City International Airport on Thursday, holding picketing signs.

Delta pilots are coming together all across the United States, including in six other airports. “Delta pilots are here today to show their resolve,” said officer Reed Donoghue, media spokesman for the Delta Master Executive Council.

Around 140 Delta pilots signed up to stand together — on their time and days off — and picket for a better contract. “It’s time to come to the table and bring an industry-leading contract that they worked hard to earn,” Donoghue said.

It’s been 3½ years since Delta pilots last had a pay raise. However, that’s only one reason why they’re here.

“Retirement, work roles and quality of life, which these recent schedules have really driven home,” Donoghue said.

That, he said, plus health insurance and retirement, are all reasons why Delta pilots are banding together.

This comes as officials say Delta pilots are flying record overtime with high demand. Coupled with poor management, they said these burdens are leaving pilots and passengers stranded — or missing flights altogether.

“What they need to do is very simple. They just need to match their flying to the number of pilots they have and overall staffing,” Donoghue said.

Delta canceled more flights than any other major airline over Memorial Day weekend.

“Many of us will have over 30-year careers here at Delta, so where we have cancellations happening affecting the brand, that hurts us going forward,” Donoghue said.

Morgan Durant, spokesperson for Delta Air Lines, sent the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“This informational exercise by some of our off-duty pilots will not disrupt our operation for our customers. Earlier this year, Delta, ALPA, and a representative from the National Mediation Board restarted our mediated contract negotiations that had been paused for almost two years due to the pandemic. Our goal remains to continue providing Delta pilots with an industry-leading overall contract with the best compensation based on pay, retirement, work rules, and profit sharing. We’re also committed to making sure the contract language supports our the ability to run a world-class operation, maintain a strong balance sheet, and invest in our business for our customers and employees alike.”

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