**United Airlines and Pilot Union Reach Contract Agreement**
United Airlines and the union representing its pilots have announced a new contract agreement that will result in significant pay raises for pilots over the next four years. The deal, valued at approximately $10 billion, signals the end of a lengthy and tumultuous negotiation process that included picketing and the possibility of a strike vote. This agreement reflects the strong bargaining power of labor groups, particularly pilots, as the airline industry experiences a robust recovery in travel demand.
**Pilots to Receive Substantial Pay Increases**
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has praised the agreement with United Airlines, stating that it will bring United pilots up to the same pay level as their counterparts at Delta Air Lines who recently approved a pay-raise deal earlier this year. The new agreement includes significant raises in pay, improved retirement benefits, and enhanced job security for United pilots.
Under the agreement, once it is ratified, pilots will receive an immediate wage-rate increase ranging from 13.8% to 18.7%, depending on the type of aircraft they operate. This will be followed by four smaller annual raises. Overall, the contract will result in a total pay increase of 34.5% to 40.2% for pilots during its duration.
**Historic Agreement Made Possible by Pilots’ Resolve**
Garth Thompson, chair of the United pilots’ union, hailed the agreement as a significant milestone. He credited the determination of the 16,000 pilots as the driving force behind the historic agreement. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby expressed his satisfaction with the deal, stating that it fulfills the company’s commitment to provide its pilots with an industry-leading contract.
**Other Airline Pilots Union Negotiations**
American Airlines pilots are slated to begin voting on a contract offer on July 24, which includes average cumulative raises of 41.5% over four years. Negotiations for Southwest Airlines pilots are still ongoing. It’s worth noting that both American and Southwest Airlines have independent unions, while Delta and United pilots are represented by ALPA.
**Airline Unions Leverage Federal Aid and Rebounding Travel Demand**
The unions representing airline employees believe they are in a strong bargaining position due to several factors. First, airlines received $54 billion in federal aid to help them weather the pandemic, which has boosted their financial standing. Additionally, the travel industry is experiencing a rapid resurgence, with the number of passengers returning to pre-pandemic levels.
**Positive Financial Results for Airlines**
The recent financial performance of major airlines further strengthens the position of the pilot unions. Delta reported a record quarterly profit of more than $1.8 billion and record revenue during the April-through-June period, which includes the beginning of the summer travel season. United Airlines is expected to announce a profit of over $1.3 billion, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet.
In conclusion, United Airlines and its pilot union have reached a contract agreement that will result in significant pay raises for pilots over the next four years. The deal reflects the favorable bargaining position of labor groups, particularly pilots, in the current airline industry climate. The agreement brings United pilots on par with their counterparts at Delta Air Lines and includes substantial pay increases, improved retirement benefits, and enhanced job security. The positive financial results of major airlines and the federal aid received during the pandemic further reinforce the unions’ bargaining power.