North American pilots are pushing for better pay and working conditions during their talks over new employment contracts with company managements. Members at some unions have voted to authorize a strike if a new contract isn’t reached.
The aggressive posture comes at a time of pilot shortages and a rise in public support for unions. The following is the status of contract negotiations at various companies:
AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC:
Pilots at American Airlines have reached an agreement in principle on a new contract, their union said on May 19.
The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents over 13,000 pilots at the Texas-based carrier, said it will move forward with completing contractual language of the contract before presenting it to its board for an approval.
WestJet, pilots reach last-minute deal as strike averted ahead of long weekend
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO:
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) in May said its members at the company approved a strike mandate. It added that 98% of its members participated in the vote and 99% voted in favour of authorizing a strike.
DELTA AIR LINES:
In March, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said that pilots at Delta had ratified a new contract that includes over $7 billion in cumulative increases in wages and benefits over four years.
The new contract, which covers 15,000 Delta pilots, provides a 34% cumulative pay increase, a lump-sum one-time payment, reduced health insurance premiums and improvements in holiday pay, vacation, company contributions to 401(k) and work rules.
Earlier in May, the Air Canada Pilots Association said its members are pressing for “historic” workplace gains and full bargaining with the carrier was likely to start this summer, before the end of their decade-long contract.
A union representing WestJet’s pilots reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian airline late on May 18, averting a strike set to begin as early as the next day that would have led to travel disruptions during the Victoria Day holiday weekend.
UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC:
Last year, ALPA said 94% of the nearly 10,000 United Airlines pilots voted to reject a contract offer.
SPIRIT AIRLINES INC:
In January, ALPA said pilots at Spirit Airlines voted to ratify a new contract.
The union that represents the ultra-low-cost carrier, said 69% of the airline’s pilots voted in favour of the new collective bargaining agreement, which offers an economic gain of $463 million, or 27%, over the next two years.
JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP:
In January, ALPA said pilots at JetBlue Airways Corp have overwhelmingly approved a two-year contract extension.
ALPA, which represents more than 4,600 pilots at JetBlue, said 75% of the pilots voted in favour of ratifying the agreement, which provides for a compensation increase of 21.5% over 18 months as well as other monetary improvements.
In mid-May, ALPA said that pilots at FedEx Express, a unit of FedEx, have voted “overwhelmingly” in support of a strike.
More than 97% of the union members took part in the vote and 99% of them authorized union leaders to call a strike, if needed.