Delta's Pilot's Union Offers Olive Branch  

Not long ago, I wrote about an AP piece that claimed that the pilot unions at Northwest and Delta were causing “problems” with Delta and Northwest proceeding with their proposed merger.

What was interesting about that story is that it didn’t mention the step that Delta and Northwest took to involve their unions in the merger. You see, they wanted to create as smooth a transition as possible for their workers. Mostly, this transition also means a savings to the companies, but let’s face it, few companies look to their unions to find agreement much less to save them money.

Well, a friend sent me a piece on the proposed merger from the Atlantic Journal Constitution:

In a message to pilots, Delta union Chairman Lee Moak said the union wants to ink a single labor contract with Northwest's pilots before the airlines close on their merger agreement, possibly by the end of this year. He said the union will also try to agree on how to merge their seniority lists through arbitration, if necessary.

Northwest pilots to take effect at the close of the corporate transaction," Moak said in the message to the Atlanta carrier's pilots. "We are also committed to the premise that seniority integration should be accomplished after negotiation of the single joint contract ... and, if necessary, expedited arbitration to be completed" by the closing of the deal.

For those who don’t get it, this is a big deal. Arbitration means that the union gives up their sovereignty, so to speak. They agree before anything is even penned to go along with what this third party decides.

The other thing I want to mention is this is a great idea, to have an agreement like this in place before the merger effective date means that they won’t run into the same issues that AmericaWest and USAir ran into and continue to experience since AmericaWest purchased USAir.

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