Makes Presentation At MEC Meeting
It's no secret pilots at Northwest Airlines are more than a
little skeptical about the future, as their carrier moves towards a
merger with -- some would say takeover by -- Delta Air Lines.
Those ill-feelings weren't helped by Delta's maneuvering to
negotiate a contract with its own pilots ahead of the April 14
announcement -- talks Northwest pilots weren't invited to.
Hoping to ease those concerns, on Thursday Delta CEO President
and Chief Financial Officer Ed Bastian was sent by management to
talk with leaders of the Northwest chapter of the Air Line Pilots
Association... a rare event, as executives with one airline seldom
meet with workers at another. Bastian came at the invitation of
those Northwest pilots, to speak at their Master Executives Council
The Associated Press reports Bastian made a two-hour-plus
presentation to Northwest pilots, presumably to curry their favor
in reaching an agreement on a joint contract with their
counterparts at Delta. "It gave us a chance to talk about our
respective views towards the future and how best to make certain
that the merger's going to be a success," Bastian said.
As ANN reported, initial
merger talks earlier this year broke down after pilots on both
sides failed to agree on such terms... but as time passed,
assertions from Delta and Northwest that such an agreement was
vital to any merger deal became less important, and the eventual
merger went forward with approval only from Delta pilots.
Now, Northwest pilots say they want
immediate pay raises, to bring them in line with their counterparts
at Delta. The pilots say Delta favors a more gradual approach.
Bastian wouldn't comment on whether he was asked about those
raises. "It wasn't a negotiating session," he said. "They expressed
their views, and I heard them, and I understand them."
Dave Stevens, chairman of the Northwest branch of the Air Line
Pilots Association, says he stressed to the Delta exec that "to
have a successful merger, all pilots and all employees have to be
treated the same."