Over 100 off-duty Delta pilots picketed Thursday at the Salt Lake City International Airport. 

Under the Railway Labor Act, there’s a process to hold a strike, and Delta pilots are inching closer and closer. They authorized the ability to vote for a strike and said if the contract negotiations don’t speed up and meet their terms pilots can vote and refuse to fly. 

Over 100 Delta pilots at Salt Lake City International Airport and more than 1,000 nationwide used their day off to send a message to Delta management 

“They need to come to the table, ready to bargain and deliver an industry leading contract,” spokesperson and first officer Delta pilot Reed Donoghue said, 

That means better pay, quality of life, retirement, health insurance, and job security. 

The pilots also called for better scheduling and less overtime. 

“Throughout 2022, our pilots have picked up a record amount of overtime to keep the operation running,” Donoghue said. 

These negotiations have reportedly gone on for years, and this was the third time this year Delta pilots picketed over this issue. 

This time, it’s been suggested that the threat of a strike is looming more than ever. 

“We’re prepared to take a strike authorization vote and exercise all of our options under the law to demonstrate our unity to delta management,” Donoghue said. 

Delta pilots authorized the ability to vote for a strike. Donoghue said they’ve made little progress in their contract negotiations and if management doesn’t speed up the process and meet their terms, they’re ready to cast their vote and refuse to fly. 

Delta responded to the picketing saying in part: 

“This year, alpa has organized several informational picketing events at various airports to bring attention to what they see as shortcomings in the pilot contract and share their concerns with pilot schedules. These exercises by some of our off-duty pilots do not disrupt our operation for our customers. Alpa’s stated purpose of picketing is simply to gain leverage at the negotiating table. 

Our goal remains to continue providing delta pilots with an industry-leading overall contract with the best compensation based on pay, retirement and profit sharing. We’re also committed to making sure the contract language supports our ability to run a world-class operation, maintain a strong balance sheet, and invest in our business for our customers and employees alike.” 

But Donoghue explained that the picketing, the potential strike, all of the mess is avoidable and is now in the hands of the Delta management’ team. 

“Pilots are serious and or unified and they’re… they’re tired of waiting,” Donoghue said. 

Pilots said Thursday will be the busiest day of travel over the course of Labor Day weekend, though and picketing will not affect flights.