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More Talks With Delta Pilots

March 15, 2001

ATLANTA (AP) _ Federal mediators have scheduled more contract negotiating sessions between Delta Air Lines and its pilots, declining to immediately grant arbitration in the dispute.

At a status meeting Thursday on the talks, the National Mediation Board scheduled a negotiating session for Monday at its Washington office. It’s unclear whether extra sessions beyond Monday would be held.

``I think it would depend on how the meetings go,″ said Charles Giambusso, chairman of the Delta unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents Delta’s nearly 10,000 pilots.

``We certainly welcome this development and look forward to continued negotiations through the mediated process,″ Delta spokesman Russ Williams said.

The pilots and Delta have been discussing a new contract for 18 months, with several differences yet to be resolved, including salary, retirement benefits, back pay, and more.

The board has not acted on a joint request Delta and the pilots filed Feb. 28 asking for binding arbitration and release from the talks. The board is under no obligation to grant arbitration, which one or both sides likely would reject, triggering a 30-day ``cooling-off″ period.

President Bush has said he will move to block airline strikes by appointing presidential emergency boards, which offer an extra 60 days of work toward a contract. Workers then could strike, barring intervention by Congress.


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