United Airlines Reaches Agreement with Pilots Union, Increasing Pilot Pay by up to 40%

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United Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) have announced an agreement on a new contract that will lead to substantial pay increases for United pilots. The deal, subject to a ratification vote, follows over four years of negotiations and represents the strength of labor groups in the current aviation industry recovery.

Details of the Agreement:

The new contract aims to raise pilot pay by up to 40% over a four-year period. Immediate wage-rate increases of 13.8% to 18.7% will be implemented, followed by four smaller annual raises. In total, pilot pay would rise between 34.5% and 40.2% during the contract period.

The agreement also includes improvements in retirement benefits and job security, bringing United pilots on par with their counterparts at Delta Air Lines who approved a similar pay-raising deal earlier this year.

Implications of the Agreement:

The successful negotiation between United Airlines and its pilots’ union highlights the leverage held by labor groups, particularly pilots, as airline revenues rebound due to the strong recovery in travel. The agreement is seen as an important milestone that recognizes the contributions and dedication of the 16,000 United pilots.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby expressed satisfaction with the agreement, stating that the company delivered on its promise to provide pilots with an industry-leading contract.

Looking Ahead:

Pilots at American Airlines are set to vote on an offer that includes average cumulative raises of 41.5% over four years, while negotiations continue for Southwest Airlines pilots. It is anticipated that the unions representing pilots at both American and Southwest will leverage the strong bargaining position they hold due to the airline industry’s resurgence following federal aid received during the pandemic.

The improved financial performance of airlines, such as Delta reporting record profits, and the return of travel to pre-pandemic levels have provided the unions with increased leverage in negotiations.

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The agreement between United Airlines and the pilots’ union marks a significant achievement in improving pilot pay and benefits. The deal reflects the favorable position of labor groups amidst the current recovery of the airline industry and underscores the importance of recognizing and rewarding pilots for their crucial role. As the aviation sector continues to rebound, ongoing negotiations and agreements are expected to shape the future of pilot contracts across major airlines.

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