SEATTLE — Off-duty pilots with Delta Air Lines plan to picket at airports -- including in Seattle -- Thursday morning.
In a media advisory, the union group Air Line Pilot Association, International said the pilots would be protesting protracted contract negotiations as they want to send a message to the airline's management team that "it's time for an industry-leading contract."
The news comes as customers have been dealing with flight woes, impacting their travel plans in recent weeks.
The Atlanta-based airline announced last month it would be cutting about 100 flights daily around its network starting in July and extending through the beginning of August. The pilots planning to picket also comes just before the busy Fourth of July weekend.
Some Delta pilots said they haven’t had a raise in more than three years.
Captain Evan Baach, a Delta pilot who planned to picket at Sea-Tac Thursday, said Delta pilots predict they would have worked as much overtime by this fall as they did in 2018 and 2019 combined.
“Nothing makes me happier than seeing a plane full of happy customers arriving to their destinations on time,” Baach said. “It’s just unfortunate and unacceptable the delays and cancelations that Delta customers specifically are not used to, and honestly shouldn’t expect, is impacting their flights the way it is.”
In a statement, a Delta spokesperson said Thursday’s picket wouldn’t disrupt operations for customers. The spokesperson called the move an "informational exercise" by some of its off-duty pilots.
"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," the statement said. "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 ability to run a world-class operation, maintain a strong balance sheet, and invest in our business for our customers and employees alike," they added.
Outside of Seattle, other cities listed included Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, JFK International in New York and Salt Lake City.
Pilots planned to picket at Sea-Tac Airport along both sides of International Boulevard from 8-11 a.m. Thursday.