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Delta pilot contract talks stall

Negotiators for Delta Air Lines and its pilots union are on a break, after progress on talks for a new contract apparently hit a wall.

The two sides are in recess for three weeks, according to a memo from Delta pilots union chairman John Malone. The National Mediation Board, which governs airline labor relations, notified both sides of the recess on Aug. 3.

"The purpose of this NMB recess is to provide both parties with an opportunity to assess their respective bargaining positions and goals," Malone wrote in the memo to Delta pilots. "It was apparent that this was done because of recent lack of progress at the bargaining table."

The union and management are scheduled to meet for a status conference Aug. 26, with talks expected to resume in September.

Delta said in a written statement that it "is committed to reaching a timely new agreement that is market-based, sustainable, and that also ensures Delta pilots have an industry-leading package of pay, benefits and work rules."

The pilots union in its opening proposal sought a nearly 40 percent compounded pay raise over a three year period, but the two sides are apparently far apart in their positions.

This is the second round of contract talks, after a previous deal was rejected by pilots in a vote last year.

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Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.