Delta pilots' union chief to resign after contract deal rejected

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 22, 2015 4:42 PM

(Reuters) - The leader of the Delta Air Lines Inc pilots' union, Mike Donatelli, said on Wednesday he will resign on Sept. 15, less than two weeks after pilots rejected a tentative contract deal that he had backed.

"It is time for your leadership to get to

work," Donatelli, chairman of Delta's Master Executive Council, part of the Air Line Pilots Association, said in a letter to pilots. "It is time to bring forward a contract reflecting the strength of that unity."

Donatelli called for a two-day meeting to start on Sept. 1 to elect his replacement.

Nearly 7,000, or 65 percent, of pilots who voted rejected the tentative contract backed by management and union leaders earlier this month. The agreement would have increased hourly pay by 8 percent upon signing, but critics said that changes in profit-sharing, sick leave and other work rules offset the pay gains.

Delta declined to comment.

"The goal posts are farther apart now," said aviation industry consultant Robert Mann. "There is now more ground to cover, not less, and that doesn't suggest that they're going to reach closure (on a new contract) anytime soon."

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Peter Galloway)