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United Airlines Grants 5% Pay Raise to Pilots

Unscheduled Raise Shows Need for Retention in Modern Economy

United Airlines Holdings is giving pilots a 5% pay bump as promised during an earlier cost-reduction deal, a few months earlier than anticipated. 

As stipulated in the Pandemic Recovery Agreement (LOA 20-05), the raise was set to go into effect for the May 2023 bid period. Unexpectedly, United, possibly spurred on by a quick return to profitability or tiresome contract negotiations, decided to let it happen earlier than planned. In a message to United pilots, senior vice president of flight operations Bryan Quigley said the pay boost would go into effect in December 2022.

"The LOA provided a 5% hourly increase to current pay rates, as shown in the pay tables in the LOA, once United returns to consistent profitability. Under the terms of the LOA, the company could have waited until the May 2023 bid period to pay out the 5% wage increase. Based on our results through Sept. 30 and guidance for the rest of 2022, however, the company has elected to implement these increases in the December 2022 bid period."

"This is a show of good faith and a down-payment," added Quigley, calling the raise an advance of sorts on a "market-based, industry-leading labor agreement." That statement rankled some United pilots, whose union recently voted to reject a tentative deal that would have included 14.5% of raises over 18 months. They said the offer did not reflect previous agreement from the airline to improve several of its work-rule provisions. 

The union has been unimpressed with what they called a "wait-and-see approach to negotiations" after the vote. A series of informational picketing events became the next focus of the United pilots' union, making some wonder whether or not the raise was aimed at defraying some of the negative PR of the upcoming action.

FMI: www.alpa.org/ual


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