Fact Check: Delta Pilots In Video Were NOT Protesting COVID-19 Vaccine

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Delta Pilots In Video Were NOT Protesting COVID-19 Vaccine Protesting Pay

Does this video show Delta Air Lines pilots protesting against the COVID-19 vaccine? No, that's not true: This video shows Delta pilots picketing at an airport to demand higher pay. The picket was unrelated to the COVID vaccination.

The claim appeared in a TikTok video (archived here) posted on July 3, 2022. The video showed pilots walking in a straight line with signs at their side, seemingly about to perform some sort of protest. The text superimposed on the video read:

Delta pilots protesting against the JAB !

This is how the video looked on TikTok at the time of writing:

delta pilots protest TikTok.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Jul 25 17:36:25 2022 UTC)

Delta pilots picketed at hubs nationwide on June 30, 2022, over pay concerns. In an email to Lead Stories on July 25, 2022, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), the airplane pilot union that represents Delta pilots, confirmed that the claim in the TikTok video is "a false statement." The email referred us to the ALPA press release (archived here), posted the day before the pickets that described their purpose:

Delta Air Lines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), will conduct informational picketing at Delta hubs nationwide on Thursday, June 30, to protest protracted contract negotiations. The pilots last signed a new employment contract in 2016 and are currently flying under work rules and pay rates negotiated over six years ago. Hundreds of off-duty pilots are scheduled to attend informational pickets tomorrow at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), and Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC).

As the ALPA press release said, Delta pilots were picketing to publicize their frustration over work rules and pay rates. Although Lead Stories could not find an exact match to the video used on TikTok, there are images and videos of the picket in Atlanta that look similar to the video and show the same architecture seen in the video.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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