United Airlines' pilots union approves tentative deal to boost pay for 14,000 pilots

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The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the largest pilots union, approved a tentative deal that would boost the pay for 14,000 United pilots. 

The ALPA said Friday that the deal would provide pilots with three pay raises totaling more than 14.5% over an 18-month period, when calculated from the start of 2022.  

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UALUNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC.38.51+2.70+7.54%

The union said the deal also includes better overtime and premium pay, a new retirement plan, a new eight-week paid maternity leave benefit and improved scheduling provisions.

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Additionally, pilots would have "improved trip construction parameters to combat pilot fatigue," the group announced. 

If the deal is ratified, it will "generate an additional $1.3 billion of value for United pilots" over the two years, the union continued. 

A United Airlines pilot wears a face mask as he walks to a gate at George Bush Intercontinental Airport Sunday, May 24, 2020, in Houston. Fewer people are flying this Memorial Day holiday amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (AP Photo/David J. Phillip / AP Newsroom)

"This agreement raises the bar for all airline pilots and leads the industry forward," Capt. Micheal Hamilton, chair of ALPA's United pilot group, said. 

The contract would need to be ratified by rank-and-file pilots to take effect. Voting will run through July 15.

United, based in Chicago, is the first major U.S. airline to reach an agreement with its pilots since negotiations across the industry were put on hold because of the pandemic. Union groups at American, Delta and Southwest watched the United contract talks closely as a potential guide in their own negotiations.

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This comes at a time when the industry has been grappling with a staffing shortage and has been forced to reduce schedules over the busy summer season as a result. 

To help, some carriers have been boosting pay to retain as many workers as they can. 

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For instance, Piedmont Airlines and Envoy Air — which are American Airlines-owned regional airlines — announced earlier this month that their pilots would be getting pay raises through August 2024. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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