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United reach initial 4-year working agreement with pilots, with increases of up to 40%

United reach initial 4-year working agreement with pilots, with increases of up to 40%
  • The new deal includes increases of up to 40.2% over four years, depending on aircraft type.
  • The union estimated the value of the deal at about $10 billion.
  • Labor unions across the industry are pressing for higher wages and better working conditions in the lucrative post-pandemic travel boom.

United Airlines pilots walk inside the airport as they take part in a media sit-in at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, May 12, 2023.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

United Airlines and its pilots union have agreed to a preliminary job deal that includes pay increases of up to 40.2% over four years, ending months of tense negotiations and airport meetings. The deal makes United the latest from a major airline to reach an agreement to raise fares amid the post-pandemic travel boom.

The initial deal, announced by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) on Saturday, comes months after Delta Air Lines pilots ratified a new contract that included a 34% increase over four years, the first of the four largest airlines to reach a new agreement. . American Airlines and its pilots’ union have reached a new labor agreement up 40% over four years, though it still faces a vote by members.

The pandemic halted contract negotiations across the industry, but workers have been pushing for higher wages and better working conditions since travel demand returned and talks resumed.

ALPA said the initial deal was worth about $10 billion. It includes a host of other improvements including overtime pay, vacation pay, and scheduling. Cumulative pay increases range from 34.5% to 40.2% based on the type of aircraft the pilot is in.

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The agreement will not be finalized in principle until it has been ratified by the company’s 16,000 pilots.

“We promised our global pilots the industry-leading contract they deserve, and we’re thrilled to have reached an agreement with ALPA on it,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a LinkedIn post. “The four-year agreement, once ratified, will provide a meaningful pay increase and improve the quality of life for our pilots while putting the airline on track to realize the incredible potential of our United Next strategy.”

The Pilots overwhelmingly rejected an initial 18-month deal last year.

United is set to report second-quarter earnings after the market closes on Wednesday, and executives will likely face questions about the cost of the deal during a conference call the next day.