United Airlines offers ground workers 30% raise over five years

[ATLANTA] United Continental Holdings Inc will give its airport workers raises of 30 per cent over five years in a bid to reach a collective-bargaining deal with almost 30,000 employees.

The carrier reached seven separate agreements with various employees represented by the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, according to a union statement on Monday. The tentative deals also include lump sum payments and cover customer service employees, baggage handlers, storekeepers, and instructors, among other areas.

"As I visit our airport locations I'm always impressed with the passion and professionalism of our IAM-represented team," chief executive officer Oscar Munoz said in a prepared statement.

"They take great care of our customers and each other every day, and we are excited to reach this agreement."

The union's members are expected to vote on the contracts on April 15. The two sides had been negotiating for the past four months in expedited talks.

If ratified, the agreements would be the latest sign of improving labor relations at United. The airline in recent months has struck deals with its pilots and flight dispatchers.

Also, it has made some progress toward a deal with its flight attendants, who remain divided among those who started at United and Continental Airlines before they merged.

The flight attendants union is among several unions that recently lined up with United management in opposition to two activist investors, which seek to name six directors to United's board. One group that remains at odds with United management is the Teamsters-represented mechanics, who have threatened to strike after failing to reach a contract deal.


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