CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines` pilots` union said Wednesday it has reached an agreement with the airline to prevent the firing of nearly 3,000 pilots if a federal ban on job cuts ends Oct. 1. United said around 2,850 pilots were at risk of being laid off without an extension of public aid, with the sector suffering a sharp drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. The top third of pilots, for example, would receive a 10 percent reduction in the minimum amount of flight they are guaranteed each month, but would be able to work overtime, one person said. The agreement that should be ratified by union members keeps the current contract intact and has benefits for pilots with seniority, people said. If members agree to the terms, the airline will not fire pilots by June 2021. The pilots` union has agreed to cut hours and split the work among United`s 13,000 pilots. The deal, which will be put to a full membership vote this month, will allow older pilots with more than 10 years of experience to use other early separation options and add restrictions to regional airlines. It also ensures the triggering of a wage increase when passenger demand returns. The United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) said on Sept. 16 that the deal was a “temporary vital artery” for the 2,850 United pilots warned their jobs could disappear after Oct. 1.
United said last week it expected to lay off 16,370 employees in October, including 2,850 pilots, in order to shrink the airline in line with falling travel demand during the pandemic. United expects it to operate only 34% of its normal schedule this month and 40% of the normal schedule next month. “Our members have understood that to protect pilot jobs, we must approve this agreement,” said Todd Insler, chairman of the union`s United Airlines board. United Airlines has reached an agreement with its pilots to avoid nearly 3,000 furloughs. “This [interim] agreement underscores our commitment to all 13,000 United pilots and demonstrates the importance of creative solutions needed to mitigate mass layoffs for our pilots,” said Todd Insler, president of the company`s pilots` union. The Air Line Pilots Association informed members of the agreement which is expected to be ratified by the pilots. United is still ready to lay off nearly 12,000 flight attendants, mechanics and other union employees from the end of this week. Pilots have specific training requirements that make it harder and longer to repatriate, which has given the pilots` union more influence to negotiate a job-saving deal.
Once the details of the agreement are finalized, it will have to be ratified by the union members. The Chicago-based airline warned last week that it plans to lay off 2,850 of its 13,000 pilots and more than 13,500 employees in other roles, while the coronavirus pandemic has sharply subsided. . . .