United pilots reject contract deal that ‘fell short’

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United Airlines planes at Newark Liberty International Airport
Leslie Josephs | CNBC

United Airlines pilots “overwhelmingly” rejected a tentative agreement that would have given them raises of about 15% over 18 months, their union said Tuesday, the latest setback in rocky labor talks between unions and airlines.

The tentative agreement “fell short of the industry-leading contract United pilots have earned and deserve after leading the airline through the pandemic and back to profitability,” the Air Line Pilots Association said.

Close to 10,000 of United’s roughly 14,000 pilots participated, with 94% voting against the agreement, the union said.

Airlines and unions have struggled to reach agreements for new pilot contracts. Unions are seeking raises and better scheduling as airlines become profitable following a more than two-year Covid pandemic slump.

Delta Air Lines pilots voted to authorize a potential strike if the airline and the union can’t come to an agreement, their union said.

United’s union said it would organize informational pickets to encourage the company to resume talks.

“Unfortunately, management has now taken a wait-and-see approach to negotiations instead of leading the industry forward,” United’s chapter of ALPA said in a statement.

United, for its part, said Tuesday: “We are already working with ALPA on a new, industry-leading agreement that we expect to include improved pay rates and other enhancements.”

Correction: United Airlines pilots “overwhelmingly” rejected a tentative agreement that would have given them raises of about 15% over 18 months, their union said. An earlier version misstated the percentage.

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