Delta pilots union chairman Ryan Schnitzler wrote in a memo to pilots Monday that “what transpires in the next seven days will impact not just the new generation of Delta pilots but also Delta itself for many years to come.”
Delta management has cut pay for tens of thousands of non-union employees and proposed measures for pilots that would also result in broad pay cuts. The pilots union has countered by offering voluntary measures to cut costs. While pilots at Delta are unionized, Delta’s flight attendants, baggage handlers, airport customer service agents, reservations agents, mechanics and administrative employees at its headquarters are not.
Last month, Atlanta-based Delta said it would be able to avoid furloughs for flight attendants and ground workers in the U.S. because of buyouts, early retirements and other cost cuts.
While pay cuts would affect pilots across the spectrum, including the most senior pilots, furloughs would affect the most junior pilots at the bottom of the seniority list.
The pilots union has also contended that the airline’s contract regional operation, Delta Connection, is flying more 76-seat regional jets than permitted under the Delta pilots' labor contract, and issued a “cease and desist" demand earlier this month. It said the limit is “intended to safeguard Delta pilots" in the face of looming furloughs.