United Continental, pilots strike early agreement on economic issues

Washington DC
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United Continental Holdings has reached an agreement in principle with the leadership of its pilots union on a joint collective bargaining agreement with the merged carrier.

The master executive council of United Continental's chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association is continuing to negotiate final details on non-economic issues.

But the agreement struck on 2 August substantially completes two years of a "rollercoaster ride" of negotiations over pay, benefits and work rules for the merged carrier's pilots, according to a 2 August letter to members by Jay Heppner and Jay Pierce, the chairman of the ALPA chapters for United and Continental, respectively.

ALPA's joint negotiating committee and United Continental are now converting the terms of agreement into specific terms in a tentative agreement, which must still be ratified by the union's members.

"This agreement follows intense negotiations with our pilot group and is an important step forward for our company," says Fred Abbott, senior vice president of flight operations for United.

Flight attendants of both United and Continental ratified separate collective bargaining agreement earlier this year, and negotiations with management on a joint collective bargaining agreement will begin shortly.

Negotiations on similar agreements with other work groups are continuing, with unions representing technicians, dispatchers, fleet service employees, storekeepers and other groups each in separate talks with management.