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Continental Pilots, Management Agree To Begin Early Contract Talks

Deal Moves Up Discussions From April 2008

Representatives from the Air Line Pilots Association and Continental Airlines met Monday to sign a Protocol Agreement setting the stage for the parties to begin talks about changes to the pilots' contract.

The agreement outlines the schedule, location and agenda for talks about non-economic contract issues. Without the agreement, discussions on changes to the current contract would not have started until April 2008, according to the carrier.

Last May, the union asked the company to begin discussions this summer in order to complete the process by the contract's amendable date, Dec. 31, 2008. Continental's agreement led to Monday's Protocol Agreement signing.

"We're encouraged to see Continental's management take this forward thinking approach in working with its pilots," said Capt. Jay Pierce, chairman of the union's Negotiating Committee.

"By agreeing to start talking about the non-economic portions of our contract now, we will help to ensure that we have plenty of time to thoroughly discuss and refine all areas of the contract. Starting the process now allows us an opportunity to address issues that otherwise might get less attention."

Capt. Tom Donaldson, chairman of the Continental Master Executive Council, the governing body of the Continental pilots' union, said, "Continental Airlines management has shown that it is interested in working with its pilots in a way that other airlines are not. Working with employee groups and not against them is one of the best ways, we believe, of contributing to an airline's success."

"Open, honest and direct communication with our pilots, and all of our work groups, is part of our culture at Continental," said Capt. Fred Abbott, vice president flight operations.

"We look forward to continuing and even strengthening the mutually beneficial, cooperative relationship we already have with our pilots."

FMI: www.continental.com, www.alpa.org

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