UnNews:Delta Pilots Picnic Outside Headquarters as Strike Looms
13 April 2006
Atlanta, GA—The annual Delta Air Lines pilots' spring picnic took place today outside company headquarters, but the celebration was marred by a light drizzle and the prospect of a looming strike. Meteorologists forecast the rain to end later in the evening, but had no comment about the strike. The inclement weather made about 10% of the pilots arrive late at the picnic, as their own flights into Atlanta's Hartsfield airport were delayed.
Meanwhile, the airline's management is threatening to cut the picnic budget by a further 30% (it was cut by 20% last year), along with slashing employee salaries and peanut rations. Increasing fuel costs, coupled with a shortage of those little plastic bags they wrap headphones in, have put Delta on the verge of bankrupcy. Company spokesman Bruce Hicks is sympathetic about the cost-cutting measures, but explains, "We have to shore up finances somehow, and it's not like we're going to decrease the CEO's salary any further - he's already making only $337,500 a year! I almost make more than that!"
The pilots' union counters that cost-cutting can be performed in other, more innovative ways. "For instance," argues representative Mike Pinho, "they could get rid of oxygen masks on airplanes - cause believe me, if those things have to deploy - you're gonna die anyway." Getting rid of emergency exit doors and slides were also on his suggestion list. Little could be discerned from the actual negotiations, as they are closed to reporters and the tiny oval windows in the conference room were all shut with little plastic covers.
Individual pilots at the picnic were grumbling about the corporate plans. Pulling out a sandwich from his wicker picnic basket, Boeing 747 pilot Phil Kim complained, "Look - I had to use generic mustard instead of Grey Poupon on my turkey! God help us if they cut the budget for this event even more!" A quick scan of the grassy meadow at which the pilots picniced also revealed rampant use of generic sodas and non-grade-A beef for hot dogs.
A strike during Easter weekend would be particularly devastating for Delta. Not only is it the 5th busiest travel weekend of the year, but the Easter Bunny himself has a number of flights booked to deliver candy and chocolates as rapidly as possible. Lacking reindeer, the Bunny relies on commercial flights for efficency, and a work stoppage by the pilots would mean millions of innocent children would have to go without candy this Easter.
The government is thus far refusing to intervene, saying binding arbitration should only be used as a "last resort - kind of like using force against Middle Eastern countries." But, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan emphesized that, "Should the Delta pilots strike, the Easter Bunny will be flown aboard Air Force one to deliver eggs to the White House for the annual egg roll & hunt."
- AP "Delta Pilots Picket Outside Headquarters." "", April 12, 2006