United Airlines‘ (Chicago) and Continental Airlines‘ (Houston) pilots may finally have an integration contract agreement that will allow the two groups to be merged. ALPA has issued the following statement:
The Master Executive Councils of the Continental and United pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association International, have voted to accept a tentative agreement on a joint collective bargaining agreement reached with United Continental Holdings, Inc. The agreement now goes before the pilots for a ratification vote.
Captain Jay Heppner, Chairman of the United Master Executive Council and Captain Jay Pierce, Chairman of the Continental Master Executive Council, said the following in a joint statement:
“With this step, we are closer to a new contract that will provide gains in compensation, work rules, job protections, and retirement and benefits for our pilots and their families. We will finally begin to see the benefits of the merger that were promised to us, and an end to the concessionary and bankruptcy-era contracts we have lived and worked under for more than a decade.
“This agreement represents years of determination and unity demonstrated by the pilots of both airlines during the two-and-a-half years of negotiations for a new contract following the merger announcement. Pilots from both United and Continental Airlines will now determine whether this agreement addresses their contributions to the success of the airline.
“This step is also good news for our passengers and United employees. Once there is pilot approval of a contract, the operations of the two airlines can finally begin to be integrated. We can begin to deliver on the promise of the world’s best airline.”
Integration of seniority lists for the two pilots groups will occur after ratification of the tentative agreement. The process is independent of airline management and involves negotiations between the two pilot groups. Absent an agreement, binding arbitration will be used to settle any remaining differences. The process follows a predefined timeline following contract ratification that was agreed upon by the two pilot groups shortly after the merger was announced.
Copyright Photo: Fred Seggie. Boeing 777-222 ER N784UA (msn 26951) climbs away from London (Heathrow). N784UA is painted in the 2004 livery of United. The United fleet is adopting the older 1991 color scheme of Continental Airlines.