United Airlines and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union have reached tentative agreements covering seven separate workgroups, including fleet service workers, passenger service workers, storekeepers, central load planners, maintenance instructors, fleet technical instructors, and security officers.
These agreements are intended to provide workplace improvements for covered union members while more comprehensive agreements are negotiated. Union negotiators will begin preparing for new rounds of contract talks in the next few months.
The agreements will provide the highest overall compensation for every covered workgroup and extend outsourcing protections for 17 stations. The deals will extend “no furlough” rules for employees, based on seniority, by twenty years, to June 2019.
The tentative agreements will also include a Ratification bonus for the union, giving members $110 for each year with the company. If ratified, the union will see job protections and pay to improve immediately on the ratification date. The union will also get a $45 million Ratification bonus, which will begin going out in the first pay period after ratification.
“The new agreements will provide immediate job protections and pay increases for our members,” said Mike Klemm, the IAM Union’s District President who helped lead the negotiations. “The Ratification bonus will give our union a significant boost and recognize our members’ years of service to the company.”
The IAM union has been negotiating with United Airlines since 2019, but talks were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Negotiations resumed in December 2022 and concluded earlier this month.
Union Members in good standing will begin ratification votes on all the agreements on April 24 by electronic ballot. The voting period will last until May 1 at 6:00 pm, when all votes will be tallied.
Local committees are holding informational town hall and break room meetings at airports nationwide, explaining how the agreements will impact each workgroup. A list of dates for the sessions has been published online.
If ratified, the agreements will position United Airlines to outcompete other airlines in a tight labor market by increasing lead pay by $3/hour and boosting wages in some cases to over $40/hour. They will also insource work at 17 airports nationwide and prevent outsourcing for more employees.
The IAM union’s announcement of the tentative agreements is a welcome development for United Airlines, which has faced uncertainty in recent years due to labor disputes and financial challenges. With these agreements, United Airlines is positioning itself to remain competitive in the airline industry and retain its workforce in a tight labor market.
The announcement also has implications for other airlines in the industry, particularly those that may be facing negotiations with the Machinists Union in the near future. If ratified, these agreements could set industry standards for compensation and job security, making it more difficult for other airlines to compete for workers in a tight labor market.