November 1, 2001
Delta Pilots Union Files Grievance Challenging Pilot Layoffs
ATLANTA, GA --- Today, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the union representing Deltas 10,000 pilots, filed a grievance challenging Deltas decision to lay off up to 1,700 pilots as part of a headcount reduction program. Four hundred pilot furloughs take effect today and affect the most junior pilots on the seniority list.
"Our contract has a no-furlough clause that covers all pilots on the seniority list on July 1, 2001," said Captain William C. Buergey, chairman of the Delta Master Executive Council (MEC), a unit of ALPA. "Nearly all of the pilots targeted for layoff are protected by that provision."
ALPA has requested "expedited arbitration" in the handling of this grievance, meaning the arbitrator must rule within 90 days of the filing. "We believe Delta management has improperly invoked the force majeure provision of our contract," said Capt. Buergey. "This is underscored by the Companys decision to pay millions of dollars in shareholder dividends while putting pilots on the street."
Force majeure, or "circumstances beyond the companys control," allows the airline to bypass the no-furlough clause and is common in airline labor contracts. This clause does not allow management to lay off pilots due to the companys economic and financial situation, even if part of this situation stems from the September 11 attacks.
"While we are pursuing a remedy to these furloughs through the grievance process, the union is implementing several assistance programs to assist the 400 pilots who are on the street as of today," said Capt. Buergey. The unions governing body will meet November 5-9, 2001, to make a final determination on these programs, including subsidizing medical benefits for furloughed pilots and their families.
ALPA represents 66,000 airline pilots at 47 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. The unions Web site is at http://cf.alpa.org.
ALPA Contact: Karen Miller, (404) 763-4925