Dozens of Delta pilots say they’re fed up and are fighting for a new contract, more money and better working conditions.
The pilots picketed on Thursday, and they plan to protest this weekend as well. They previously protested in June of this year.
Channel 2′s Justin Carter was inside Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport right before the busy holiday weekend.
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The good news is that the hundreds of pilots that protested nationwide today were off duty and did not impact flights on Thursday.
“I mean, these are the guys that keep us safe,” Delta customer Sharon Escarpeta said.
Escapeta said pilots need to be paid what they’re worth. Her flight to Atlanta was delayed an hour Thursday because the pilot found a mechanical problem.
“(They need) an increase, better benefits,” Escapeta said.
She said she supports the 400 Delta pilots that joined in protest Thursday, holding picket signs proudly outside Delta’s south terminal.
Captain Jason Ambrosi is the chairman of the union that represents Delta pilots. He said the company continues to drag its feet on a six-year-old labor contract.
“It’s time for the pilots to get a contract that they have earned,” Ambrosi said.
They want better flight schedules as they continue to clock unreasonable amounts of overtime.
“The company continues to build a schedule counting on our pilots to fly overtime,” Ambrosi said.
“The pilots need a pay increase, but beyond that it’s quality of life. These schedules are much worse in the recovery than they’ve ever been in the history of Delta Airlines,” Ambrosi said.
Channel 2 spoke to AAA spokesperson Montrae Waiters, who said this could have a negative impact on travel down the line and advised to have a Plan B.
“There’s a possibility of delays from not having enough pilots to fly. So it’s very important that passengers get to the airport in enough time to make it to their destinations,” Waiters said.
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In a statement, a Delta spokesperson said the following:
“ALPA’s stated purpose of picketing is simply to gain leverage at the negotiating table. Our goal remains to continue providing Delta pilots with an industry leading overall contract with the best compensation based on pay, retirement and profit sharing.”
Union representatives said negotiation talks will continue through the month.
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