Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Delta Pilots Begin New Round of Picketing

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Delta Air Lines Inc. is in better competitive shape than its executives portray and has performed so well recently that it doesn't need any of the $325 million or so in cuts it is seeking from its pilots, the pilots union sought to show Tuesday.

The dispute between the nation's third-largest airline, which is operating under bankruptcy protection, and its pilots escalated as they began a new round of picketing at airports.

The 6,000-member pilots union at Delta has vowed to strike if the company is allowed by an arbitration panel to impose the long-term pay and benefit reductions -- a labor action that the airline's chief executive has said would bring its demise. Already, the threat of a strike may be affecting passenger flight bookings in April and May, company executives acknowledged Monday.

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