NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The rejection of a flight attendant contract and a contentious start to pilot contract talks have been disheartening for the management and workers at American Airlines ( AAL) .
In Atlanta, home of Delta (DAL) , the reaction, no doubt, is somewhat different. Not only is a competitor having problems, but Delta's pilot contract and flight attendant compensation are being held up as models.
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In a message to members on Wednesday, Keith Wilson, president of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American pilots, praised Delta for its commitment to reward employees with profit-sharing, something American isn't offering.
Last month, Laura Glading, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, convinced American executives to add $13 million annually to their tentative contract proposal, arguing that American flight attendant wages should be equivalent to Delta wages. The proposal still failed.
Delta declined to comment on Thursday. But as recently as Oct. 26, Delta CEO Richard Anderson jabbed American and United (UAL) . While the former has no profit-sharing, the latter has less profit to share.
"What we're always proud about and what sets Delta off as a totally different company than United and American is our profit-sharing," Anderson said in his weekly telephone message to employees.
"For Delta people who have already received an early payment on their 2014 profit-sharing and, come February, will get the remainder of what is expected to be a total of more than $1 billion in profit-sharing paid to our employees, that means 15% on top of what your W2 would otherwise be," Anderson said. "So essentially, it's a 15% pay increase. No other airline is even coming close to that number.
"Some airlines don't have any of this and are proud of the fact that they don't have it," he said, adding, "Delta folks are by far the best paid in the industry."
On Wednesday, in an emailed message to members, APA's Wilson quoted Anderson as saying that "rewarding employees with pay for performance through profit-sharing ... drives revenue growth and better financial returns," and added, "American Airlines management evidently believes otherwise."