CHICAGO — United Airlines and its pilots’ union said Friday they reached tentative agreement on the outline of a new contract, a notable deal while labor tension has increased in the airline industry.
The leader of the United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, Michael Hamilton, and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby called it an industry-leading agreement. However, financial details were not disclosed.
The tentative deal at United contrasts with increasing tension between pilots and management at American, Southwest and Alaska. Pilots, whose numbers were cut through buyouts and early retirement after the pandemic hit, say they are overworked, and they are demanding sizable pay increases.
Alaska Airline pilots began a strike-authorization vote this week. However, federal law includes barriers to legal strikes in the airline industry — they can be blocked by federal mediators or the president.
United threatened to furlough 2,850 pilots in October 2020, when federal pandemic relief briefly expired. The two sides reached a side deal that averted the job losses, and federal aid that also barred furloughs was later reinstated.