Delta Air Lines pilots voted Wednesday through their union representative, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), for a new contract that will give a group of 15,000 employees a pay raise for years to come. per CNBC.
The increases are based on the experience of the pilot and the type of aircraft being flown. In total, the increases will amount to 34% up to and including 2026.
“From the beginning of the negotiation process, we have committed to delivering the best pilot contract in the industry to the best pilots in the industry, a contract that maintains us as a top destination for U.S. aviation careers, and this contract is a reflection of that non- unwavering devotion.” said John Laught, Delta chief of operations, in the company press release.
Contracts in the airline industry do not expire, by law, but are subject to change, the Associated Press noted. This became available for changes in 2019.
Related: Delta Pilot Union votes to strike ‘if necessary’ during contract negotiations
Delta, like other airlines, is facing a shortage of pilots after offering early retirement offers as the pandemic hit. New York Times reported. The wage increases are also likely to give pilots from other airlines more leverage in wage negotiations.
The ALPAs rack praised the union’s organizing efforts. Those include pilot pickets in 2022 and a vote to approve a strike if “necessary” in October 2022. There was also talk of the delay in talks due to the coronavirus.
“Despite a two-year delay in negotiations due to COVID, we have never lost sight of our goal to make significant improvements across the board to our pilot working agreement,” said Darren Hartmann, Chairman of the Delta Master Executive Council (Delta’s union in the ALPA), in the statement.
The ALPA went on to say that 97% of eligible pilots voted, and it received the approval of 78% of the group.
The contract provides for increases of 18% at signing and then annual increases of 4% or 5% through 2026. The contract also provides for improvements to pension contributions and holiday policies, according to the Times.