Flight dispatchers at Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines did what the airlines' pilots failed to do in negotiations: resolve their differences over blending the seniority lists of the two groups.
The two dispatcher groups reached a five-year tentative agreement with Delta management, subject to ratification by union members. The terms were distributed Thursday and voting will occur later this month.
Perry Sprague, president of the Transport Workers Union that represents 174 Northwest dispatchers, called the contract "industry competitive." He declined to release specific pay rates. Dispatchers, who work in the airlines' operations centers and plan flight routes and fuel allocations, share control of each flight with airline captains.
The 188 Delta dispatchers are represented by the Professional Airline Flight Control Association. In early 2009, dispatchers from both airlines will choose one union to represent them at the merged airline.
In a joint statement, union officials said that the comprehensive labor pact, reached after 10 months of work, "will provide our members with both job and financial security."
Earlier this year, Delta and Northwest pilots negotiated a joint contract with management. On Monday night, a three-member arbitration panel released a binding seniority list for the pilots.