Court May Allow Delta to Terminate Unionists

The Jan. 18 decision by an U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit could force the Air Line Pilots Ass’n to end a no-overtime campaign by Delta Air Lines pilots.The opinion, written by U.S. Circuit Judge Gerald B. Tjoflat, affirmed that Delta’s pilots “were engaged in an unlawful no-overtime campaign,” in violation of a contract that expired in 1999 but remains in collective bargaining.” While ALPA attorneys insist the union has directed the pilots to cease their no-overtime campaign, Tjoflat’s opinion noted the judges “seriously doubt” that ALPA has done all it can to stop it. ALPA’s constitution permits the union “to discipline, fire or expel any member for a number of reasons, including ‘acting in any manner to circumvent, defeat or interfere with collective bargaining,'” the opinion states. Tjoflat’s opinion suggests that if ALPA “has lost control of its members,” Delta may return to court and seek permission to terminate some of the participating pilots.

Delta sued ALPA last month, charging that its pilots had organized an effort to decline “overtime” flights during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Delta submitted information to the court that, because of the pilots’ refusal to work overtime, the airline canceled more than 5,200 flights between mid-November and Jan. 1, adversely affecting more than 750,000 passengers. [Fulton County Daily Rep. 01/24/01]