Continental pilots file grievances against United management

Washington DC
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Pilots at Continental Airlines, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have filed two group grievances against management, alleging that the company has violated the scope provisions in the union labour contract.

The merger between Continental and United closed last year, but the two carriers still use separate operating certificates. Pilots at United are also represented by ALPA.

ALPA said that the first grievance, filed on 2 June, deals with the sale of Boeing 767 aircraft by Continental. In its second grievance, the union said that for the third quarter of this year there has been "a reduction in the ratio of Continental to United flying required with respect to twin-aisle aircraft".

According to ALPA, the scope provisions "among other things" in its contract with Continental does not allow for "certain types of fleet changes" and also requires that ratios of flying performed by Continental's pilots equal or exceed ratios in place prior to the merger.

The union said it hopes to obtain "prompt correction" of these issues, including halting further sales of 767 aircraft, correcting the ratio of Continental to United flying, and "monetary damages and all other appropriate relief".

"Blatantly disregarding our existing contract not only runs contrary to management's stated interest in reaching 'fair' resolution on a new contract, it is no way to make progress toward successfully completing the merger and securing much-anticipated benefits for passengers, shareholders and employees," said Captain Jay Pierce, the chairman of the Continental ALPA chapter.

There has been previous conflict between ALPA and Continental. Last year, management unveiled a plan to operate larger United Express regional jets out of Continental hubs. ALPA believed this decision was a violation of the Continental scope clause. In December, an arbitrator ruled in favour of ALPA, and as a result, Continental's code could not be placed on the flights.