'Scheduling more flying than we can handle responsibly': Thousands of Delta Air Lines pilots picket nationwide

Delta Air Lines plane leaves the gate, Monday, July 12, 2021, at Logan International Airport in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Captain Jason Ambrosi has been a Delta Air Lines pilot for 22 years. He tells WABE he loves his job. But he’s exhausted from flying a record number of overtime hours to help the airline recover from the pandemic.

Ambrosi, who is also head of the pilots union at Delta, will be among hundreds of pilots picketing at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson on Thursday. Ambrosi says thousands of Delta pilots will stand shoulder-to-shoulder outside of several airline hubs nationwide.

“We’ve helped our airline recover by flying record amounts of overtime. Our pilots spend more time away from our families, and we do that to get our customers safely to their destination. It’s time for the company to recognize those contributions,” Ambrosi said.

A Delta Air Lines spokesperson tells WABE in a statement that this will not disrupt operations, and the company has restarted contract negotiations that had been paused for nearly 2 years due to the pandemic.

Delta notes its goal remains to provide pilots with an industry-leading overall contract with the best compensation based on pay, retirement, work rules, and profit sharing.

“We’re also committed to making sure the contract language supports our ability to run a world-class operation, maintain a strong balance sheet, and invest in our business for our customers and employees alike,” Delta writes.