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Delta Hikes Starting Wages to $19 an Hour, Gives Employees 5% Raises



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Delta said it would increase starting wages for frontline workers and give 5% raises to employees across the board as the carrier continues to make record profits.

Delta announced Monday that it plans to give its employees 5% raises and increase the minimum starting wage for frontline employees to $19 an hour.

The increases will impact around 80,000 employees. 

The raises, which start June 1, come as Delta executives said they are anticipating a busy summer travel season and as the carrier paid out $1.4 billion in profit sharing bonuses to employees. 

Delta CEO Ed Bastian also wrote in a memo to employees on Monday that the airline would also create a “5% merit pool” that will be allocated to employees based on individual performance and market standing. 

“With this increase in base pay and starting rates, we continue our commitment to provide Delta people with industry-leading total compensation for industry-leading performance,” Bastian wrote in the memo seen by Skift. 

The $19 starting wages will apply to employees like flight attendants, mechanics and ground handlers, among others. These wages don’t apply to pilots, however, since they are already unionized and recently ratified a contract that gave them 34% raises over the course of four years. 

Delta is one of the largest U.S. carriers that doesn’t have unionized flight attendants. The Association of Flight Attendants launched an organizing campaign at Delta in 2019, and the carrier’s flight attendants narrowly voted against forming a union in 2010. 

The AFA said in 2019 that  “thousands of flight attendants” had approached the union about an organizing drive.

Delta’s AFA organizing unit was critical of the raises, saying that the airline’s flight attendants still earn less compared to its competitors.

“We’ll take this raise and keep organizing for the right to negotiate what we really deserve,” the organizing unit said in a statement.

Delta made a $37 million profit in the first three months of 2024, traditionally the weakest quarter for airlines. The carrier also reported operating revenues of $12.6 billion in the first quarter. 

Airlines Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at? The performance of airline sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets including network carriers, low-cost carriers, and other related companies.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more airlines sector financial performance. 

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