Delta’s Improving Numbers Will Result in Raises for Nearly 80,000 Workers

Skift Take

The salary bumps will no doubt be welcomed by employees, as well as the rest of an airline industry that’s come to believe wages will stay stagnant forever.

— Jason Clampet

Delta Air Lines is giving pay raises to most of its nearly 80,000 employees next year after reporting record quarterly profits earlier this year.

Atlanta-based Delta said it will give customer-facing employees raises of up to 3 percent effective April 1, following previous rounds of pay increases. Meanwhile, other employees will get raises of varying amounts from a 3 percent merit pool, based on performance and other factors.

Unionized employees — at Delta, primarily pilots — get raises on different terms according to their contracts.

But one key factor will cut into employees’ take-home pay: An increase next year in Delta’s health care costs because of health care reform and health care inflation. Delta said it will absorb about 85 percent of the $100 million in additional costs. The rest will be borne by plan participants through premium increases ranging from $3 to $22 per month in account-based plans, along with other changes, according to a memo from Delta Chief Executive Richard Anderson.

The company said it will restore a benefit for employees with at least 25 years of continuous service: a fifth week of vacation. The benefit had been eliminated in 2005, the year the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection before emerging in 2007 and following a bumpy road to recovery.

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