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Delta, pilots told to 'clean up your own mess'

"This is your mess, you fix it," arbitrator Richard Bloch told Delta and its pilots after two weeks of hearings. The "mess" he's referring to is the protracted and increasingly ugly contract struggle between the two sides.

In one corner is Delta management, which claims it needs about $300 million in annual concessions from its pilots and will void their contract if they don't give in. In the other corner, the pilots—who say they'll strike if the contract is voided.

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Bloch finds himself squarely in the middle of the battle, and he's clearly not happy about it. He says the two sides need to reach a deal before an April 15 deadline in which he and his panel would rule on the contract issue. If that happens, he says, it would amount to an "abandonment of responsibility that will and should haunt you all."

No one wants a strike, least of all those of us who fly Delta. If it does come to a strike, that's something that would haunt the rest of us, too.

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