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Airline update.

After 19 months of negotiations, Delta Air Lines and the Air Line Pilots Association agreed to a 54-month contract, covering some 7,400 pilots. The pact reportedly will make the Delta pilots the highest paid pilot group in the industry.

The pact calls for average wage increases of 12.5 percent over the term of the contract, with "B-scale" (less senior) pilots getting 40 percent over term. The accord also shortened to 3 years (previously, 5 years) the time it takes B-scale pilots to reach the pay of "A-scale" (more senior) pilots. (Delta pilots now reportedly will have the shortest time in the industry to reach the A-scale.) This two-tier wage scale was the major issue in dispute. Other terms include a 5-hour increase (to 80 hours) in maximum flying time, and changes in the training system to make it more efficient.

Elsewhere, negotiators for British Airways and the Machinists entered into a 4-year collective bargaining agreement that guarantees job security for the life of the contract. The agreement covers about 1,400 airline workers (reservation clerks, passenger service agents, telecommunications workers, and mechanics) based in the United States. The prior contract expired in June 1987.

The pact calls for general wage increases of 5 percent retroactive to January 1, 1990, 4 percent on December 31, 1990, 4.5 percent on January 6, 1992, and 5 percent on January 4, 1993. In addition, employees will receive lump-sum payments equal to 6.5 percent of gross earnings for 1988 and 4.5 percent of gross earnings for 1989.

Other terms include elimination of the two-tier wage system; expanded use of part-time employees (from 20 percent of the work force to 36 percent over the term of the contract), with an annual incentive payment of $650 to full-time employees and $325 to part-time employees when the part-time expansion goals are met; a one-time payment of $2,000 to employees who qualify as customer service representatives, $1,200 to cargo customer representatives, and $1,000 to baggage service and departure control representatives; 45 cents to $1.25 an hour premium for various reservations classifications; enhanced medical benefits, including a $500,000 increase (to $1 million) in the lifetime maximum, vision care for dependents, and health benefits for part-time employees equivalent to single coverage for fulltimers, with optional dependent medical coverage at the employees' expense; and improvements in dental care, life insurance coverage, long-term disability benefits, pensions, and the 401(k) plan.
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Title Annotation:Developments in industrial relations; Delta Airlines Inc., British Airways PLC
Author:Cimini, Michael H.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Dec 1, 1990
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