Release #: DAL 23.03
November 16, 2023

Delta Pilots Union Hosts Labor Coalition

Dispatchers, Flight Attendants, and Underwing Employees Discuss Labor Issues

ATLANTA—As the holiday travel season approaches, the Delta Master Executive Council (MEC), a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, hosted a joint labor coalition meeting this week with fellow Delta employees and labor organizers to discuss issues of mutual concern.

Delta’s 16,700 pilots and approximately 500 dispatchers, represented by the Professional Air Flight Control Association (PAFCA), are the only unionized employee groups at Delta. The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) has an active organizing drive underway for Delta flight attendants. The International Association of Machinists Aerospace Workers (IAM) is seeking to represent ramp, cargo, and tower workers, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is organizing mechanics. These efforts collectively represent more than 45,000 nonunionized Delta workers.

“Management talks about the Delta family as part of our corporate culture, but it’s the employees who are the true long-term stakeholders at our airline,” said Delta MEC chair Capt. Darren Hartmann. “Frontline workers have a collective interest in supporting each other’s goals and helping address issues that we all face. There is truly strength in numbers.”

During the labor panel, participants discussed unique issues facing Delta employees and the benefits of legally binding, contractually bargained agreements. 

“This is the first in a series of ongoing meetings and other opportunities to support our fellow employees. While the pilots and dispatchers have the benefit of contractual protections, we understand the uphill battle union organizers face when trying to connect with Delta’s frontline workers. Delta management has historically fought off unionization efforts with platitudes of a corporate culture that fosters a ‘direct relationship’ with its workers,” said Hartmann. “However, it is union-negotiated contracts that protect employees’ pay, working conditions, and a sustainable work/life balance from a management team that may be more interested in the shareholders’ bottom line.”

Delta pilots ratified a new employment contract in March 2023. While it was industry-leading, ALPA has faced ongoing issues with contract implementation and widespread pay disputes. The dispatchers are preparing to begin negotiations this winter and are also seeking an industry-leading contract.

“This coalition of labor leaders highlighted that despite our different roles as Delta frontline workers, we have much in common. The bottom line is we all want Delta to be successful, and we’re committed to providing the best service in the industry. We, the Delta employees, are the Delta family,” said Hartmann.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 77,000 pilots at 42 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots.


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