Pilots with U.S.-based Kalitta Air have voted 213-7 to authorize a strike, stating that the company has delayed responding to union wage and benefit proposals for more than two and a half years. The pilots are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division, Airline Professionals Teamsters Local 1224.
Kalitta, with a headquarters in Ypsilanti, Mich., operates an all-freighter fleet of 747s, serving routes for DHL. Ninety-two percent of eligible pilots voted, with 97 percent of those votes authorizing the action.
“The pilots of Kalitta Air have sent a strong message to the airline’s management and their customers, including DHL, and potential customers,” said Scott Nelson, the elected chairman of the APA Teamsters Local 1224 Kalitta Air Executive Council. “Our members are prepared to strike over management delay tactics, violations of federal law, mistreatment of pilots and their continuing refusal to agree to a significantly-improved labor contract.”
Negotiations have been ongoing since October 2010. In October 2015, the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan issued an injunction against the company for violating federal labor laws. Union members have complained about alleged unprofessional conduct by managers, expressing alarm at the number of pilots that are reportedly considering leaving Kalitta Air for other airlines.
ABX Air, Atlas Air and Southern Air also fly on behalf of DHL. All three have pledged solidarity with Kalitta pilots in the event of a strike.