...And Pilots Union Threatens "Murder-Suicide"
Of course, all the congressional help in the world won't help the legacy carriers if they can't help themselves and it seems like pilots at both Delta and Northwest are willing to pull the pin on their respective airlines. When it comes to concessions, pilots have the most to give and they've given up a total of $1.2 billion in wages and benefits to try and keep the struggling carriers afloat. The pilots, all members of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have indicated they're running out of patience with demands that they work for less and are threatening to go on strike, even though they agree with Delta's prediction that a strike would result in a "murder-suicide" for the airline. "Is it a real threat? Yes it is," said Mark McClain, chair of the Northwest branch of ALPA. Last year, Northwest pilots took a 15-percent pay cut while other employees refused to accept cuts. Now, the airline wants to create a budget subsidiary using lower-paid pilots. "We've been championing the cause of saving Northwest Airlines, and management wants to pay us back by outsourcing a third of our jobs," McClain told The Associated Press. Delta has asked for a further 19 percent in wage cuts from pilots on top of the 32.5 percent they gave up last year. Both airlines will ask the bankruptcy court to toss out the existing contracts and that might spark the strikes. "I wouldn't be surprised to see some strikes," Lowell Peterson, a bankruptcy attorney who has worked on airline, cases told the AP. "Not because people really want to, but because there's nothing left."