Pilots, Airlines Seek To Strike New Contracts Ahead Of Peak Travel Season

Pilots, Airlines Seek To Strike New Contracts Ahead Of Peak Travel Season


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:


Pilots at American Airlines have reached an agreement in principle on a new contract, their union said on May 19.

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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.


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 favor of authorizing a strike.


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.


Air Canada’s pilots on May 29 ended a decade-long contract framework, opening the door to “full bargaining this summer,” their union leadership said in a note to members seen by Reuters.

Previously, Air Canada pilots said they are pressing for “historic” gains to narrow the earnings gap with higher-paid aviators at US carriers.


WestJet Airlines pilots will get a 24% hourly raise over four years, plus other pay and benefits as part of a tentative agreement reached in May, according to a copy seen by Reuters on May 26.

The tentative agreement was reached by Onex Corp’s WestJet and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) less than 24 hours before the start of an expected strike at Canada’s second-largest carrier.


Last year, ALPA said 94% of the nearly 10,000 United Airlines pilots voted to reject a contract offer.


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 favor of the new collective bargaining agreement, which offers an economic gain of $463 million, or 27%, over the next two years.


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 favor of ratifying the agreement, which provides for a compensation increase of 21.5% over 18 months as well as other monetary improvements.


FedEx on May 30 said it has reached a tentative agreement with pilots of its air delivery unit who had voted in favor of a strike earlier this month seeking higher pay.

The ALPA had voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of a strike if needed, when it had entered the final stages of a contract negotiation with the company.

The agreement prevents a possible strike after 99% of about 6,000 FedEx Express pilots that ALPA represents voted in favor of one, as they asked the company to meet recently improved industry standards for pilot pay.

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