United Reaches Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement with Dispatcher Unions
Almost four years after United Airlines merged with Continental Airlines, several of United’s unionized work groups continue to operate much as they did before the deal, essentially as if there were two separate and distinct carriers. On Tuesday, however, United announced progress in this area.
The carrier said that it has reached a tentative joint collective bargaining agreement with two unions that together represent a total of 330 flight dispatchers, namely the Professional Airline Flight Control Association, which represents dispatchers at the airline’s United subsidiary, and the Transport Workers Union, which represents dispatchers at its Continental subsidiary.
The airline also reached an agreement with its flight attendants union to begin what it called “a collaborative process of facilitated problem-solving” as it tries to negotiate a joint collective agreement with that workgroup. The two parties have requested the assistance of the National Mediation Board, and will meet with the Board’s representatives in future bargaining sessions.
A battle over flight-attendant furloughs in January highlighted the difficulties the carrier has faced in harmonizing contracts, but United said it hopes to move towards an agreement with the Association of Flight Attendants that is similar to the one that it came to with the two dispatchers unions.
United also said that it plans to begin negotiations for a joint bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the union that represents its aircraft technicians, in the near future.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of more than 5,200 flights a day to 369 destinations over six continents. To date, the airline has reached joint collective bargaining agreements with a majority of its employees, including pilots, fleet and passenger service crew, and reservations workers.
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