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Delta Warns Pilots on Making Delays

ATLANTA (AP) — A Delta Air Lines senior executive has warned pilots against causing flight delays intended to pressure the carrier to agree to contract terms sought by the pilots.

``Within the pilot group, there is substantial discussion of potential job action against Delta,'' senior vice president Dave Bushy wrote in a memo to pilots.

Bushy, who is in charge of Delta's flight operations, said there has been talk of pilots failing to request overtime or making themselves available for reassignment, calling in sick, engaging in slowdowns and increasing maintenance write-ups.

``The apparent intent of such action would be to gain leverage on behalf of the Air Line Pilots Association in the ongoing contract negotiations,'' he said. ``Such activity would clearly violate federal law.''

Delta relies on pilots accepting additional flying time or taking flights to which they were not originally assigned to fill 4 percent to 5 percent of its flights. All airlines rely on overtime to complete their schedules.

ALPA spokeswoman Karen McGuffey-Miller said the union, which represents the company's 9,400 pilots, had heard ``anecdotal stories'' about a proposed job action.

She said overtime is an individual choice and that ``we are not telling pilots to do anything regarding overtime.'' She would not comment on Bushy's memo.

Any organized job action would be illegal until after government mediation and a 30-day cooling-off period.

Delta and ALPA have been in talks for more than a year but only recently exchanged wage proposals. The airline proposal links future raises to Delta's financial performance and pilot productivity.

At United Airlines, a ``no overtime'' campaign by pilots, along with air traffic control problems, contributed to numerous flight delays this summer.

There have been no delays due to a possible slowdown by Delta pilots as the busy holiday season nears, company spokesman John Kennedy said.

``Delta flights are operating normally, and we are not aware of any job action,'' he said.
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