Archive for Saturday, April 15, 2006

Delta, pilots union reach tentative agreement

April 15, 2006

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— Delta Air Lines Inc. and negotiators for its pilots union reached a tentative agreement Friday on long-term pay and benefit cuts that could avert a strike at the nation's third largest carrier and ease uncertainty among travelers over the busy holiday weekend.

No details of the agreement were released, but the deal means the two sides have cleared a major hurdle though they are not out of the woods yet. The deal is subject to ratification by the airline's 5,930 pilots and must be approved by the bankruptcy court.

The pilots union had threatened to strike if its contract was thrown out. Delta, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection since September, has said in court papers that a pilot strike would put it out of business.

An arbitration panel had until today to reach a decision on Delta's request to throw out its pilot contract so it could impose up to $325 million in annual pay and benefit cuts. That decision is now on hold with the tentative agreement, but it could resurface if the rank-and-file pilots reject the agreement. No date for a vote was set.

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