For Delta's Pilots, It Could Have Been Worse

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Pilots for Delta Air Lines struck a tentative deal over the weekend, averting a possible strike that the airline had characterized as a "murder-suicide" scenario. "The pilots came out on top of this skirmish, but I've been around for a long time and I know who is going to win the war -- Delta," industry analyst Terry Trippler told the Associated Press. Delta had been asking the pilots for $325 million in concessions, but under the new deal the pilots will concede less than half that amount. The cuts include a 14-percent wage reduction for pilots, on top of a 32.5 percent cut agreed to last year.

The pilots union says it is not backing away altogether from its strike threat, but putting it on hold for now while the two sides continue to negotiate. "All along, our biggest problem has been that the management team did not recognize that a 50 percent pay cut in a year and a termination of their pension plan ... if that wasn't enough to be the tipping point, I don't know what is," Lee Moak, chairman of the union's executive committee, told the AP. "So, I believe that they (Delta management) recognized that." Delta filed for bankruptcy protection in September. Delta's pilots are expected to ratify the agreement. The bankruptcy court also must give it an OK.