Last updated: 03:29 PM ET, Mon July 13 2015

Delta Pilots Reject Three-Year Contract

Airlines & Airports | Delta Air Lines | Rich Thomaselli | July 13, 2015

Delta Pilots Reject Three-Year Contract

As profits continue to rise in the airline industry, so does the labor unrest.

In a bit of a surprising twist, pilots for Delta Air Lines rejected a proposed three-year contract agreement on Friday after its union had already negotiated the new deal with the Atlanta-based carrier. The vote wasn’t even close – a little more than 10,700 of Delta’s 12,800 pilots cast ballots, and the measure went down to defeat with 65 percent voting "no" and 35 percent voting "yes."

The likely focal point is Delta’s profit-sharing plan. Hourly wages would have increased pilots’ salaries by an average of $3,500 by January of 2018, but Delta wants a change to the profit-sharing plan.

Right now, pilots receive profit-sharing equal to 10 percent of profits and 20 percent of profits exceeding $2.5 billion. The airline wants that changed to 20 percent of profits exceeding $6 billion.

There is no threat of a walkout or strike, however. The pilots had asked for labor talks to begin earlier than expected in order to head off that very thing and the two sides are expected to return to the bargaining table.

At United, however, flight attendants are frustrated by the slow pace of labor talks and are planning action this week. According to the Facebook page United Airlines Flight Attendants Contract Negotiations, “Many of United’s flight attendants are preparing (Thursday) for protests at all of their crew bases to signal their impatience over their own slow contract talks.”

The 21,000 flight attendants have been without a deal since 2012, with the Association of Flight Attendants telling its members last week that “the parties are far apart on key issues.”

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