United Airlines' flight attendants and pilots ratified new contracts yesterday, agreeing to additional givebacks as the struggling carrier...
CHICAGO — United Airlines’ flight attendants and pilots ratified new contracts yesterday, agreeing to additional givebacks as the struggling carrier tries to emerge from more than two years of bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy judge approved the deals yesterday and imposed short-term wage and benefit cuts on the company’s mechanics union, which rejected the airline’s latest contract offer last week. Those cuts go into effect today and last through May.
United argued during the hearing that allowing members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) to avoid temporary concessions threatened to unravel the progress it has made with its other unions.
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Attorneys for AMFA opposed the concessions, which would save the company $21 million, claiming that United negotiators had refused to consider alternative cost-cutting proposals.
But Judge Eugene Wedoff said that if AMFA did not assume its share of short-term concessions, including a 10 percent pay cut, it “could cause great unrest” among the other unions that have already granted concessions.
AMFA members rejected a 5 percent wage reduction Friday and voted to strike if United persuades Wedoff to impose a new long-term contract.
Union members would not respond to the temporary cuts with any labor actions, AMFA spokesman David Quinn said. The union is willing to return to the bargaining table, he added.