Fellow Delta pilots,
Tomorrow morning, ALPA will formally present the Delta pilots’ contract opener to the Company, thus officially beginning the Section 6 negotiations process under the Railway Labor Act (RLA). Immediately following this exchange, we will send our section-by-section proposal to all pilots accompanied by a Negotiators’ Notepad that provides historical context about our Pilot Working Agreement (PWA). In short, our opener is the culmination of your direct feedback and clearly reflects pilot priorities, which fall into four broad categories: significant improvements to retirement and insurance, pay, quality of life and scope.
Once the exchange of openers is complete, we will begin direct negotiations with the Company. Our intent is to meet with the Company as frequently as possible, and we are prepared to do so. The contract amendable date is December 31, and our PWA stipulates that both parties will jointly file for mediation if we do not have an agreement by March 31, 2020. We have a lot of work to do between now and next March, but I’m confident that with your support and engagement, we will make steady progress at the negotiating table. We hope that the Company brings this same level of commitment to these talks.
Our opener is large, very large, and it should be. It is representative of the feedback you have given us through direct input to your reps, survey results and polling data. Earlier this week, the Company published results for the month of March and delivered an astounding performance, setting a record for the quarter of 45 million passengers boarded. With that, we expect astonishing first quarter results next week. Additionally, Delta announced an extension of its partnership with American Express. The Company expects its benefit from this relationship to increase from $3.4 billion in 2018 to nearly $7 billion annually by 2023. Continued profitability and strong partnerships pave the way for a premium contract that establishes a new paradigm in pilot compensation, retirement, benefits and quality of life. The simple reality is that we still have a long way to go to get back to where we were prior to bankruptcy, but the good news is the Company can afford it like never before.
Over the coming weeks and months, look for frequent updates from your union – we will leverage all our communication channels to keep you in the loop, including a new Contract 2019 series about negotiations called “Contract 2019: The Road to the TA.” Also, please continue to provide us with your feedback and input along the way. In the meantime, I ask that whether you are flying, in training or off on April 5, you take just a moment to acknowledge this significant day in all our careers as we begin the collective bargaining process for Contract 2019. The Delta pilots are not alone in our battle to secure a better contract. As you will see attached to this letter, I have received letters of support from pilot representatives from Aeroméxico, Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic. We stand in solidarity as an MEC, as a pilot group and profession. Our message to the Company is clear: “Bankruptcy is over. Contract 2019 starts now.”
Captain Ryan Schnitzler, Chairman Delta Master Executive Council