Tue, Feb 01, 2005
Mechanics Threaten To Strike, Pilots Approve Wage Cut Deal
Workers at bankrupt United Airlines
Monday sent mixed signals as the carrier continued its struggle for
solvency. While pilots approved a wage cut deal, union mechanics
turned down the airline's new contract offer, threatening to strike
if the airline's will was imposed upon them by the federal
The pilots' deal followed word that union flight attendants had
also reached an agreement with the airline.
"The sacrifices borne by the flight attendants in contract
changes that include reduced hourly rates of pay to 1991 levels
will have a harsh affect on flight attendants and our families,"
said Greg Davidowitch, president of the AFA executive council at
United, in a statement. He was quoted by CNN.
But salary cuts for mechanics, which would have saved United $96
million a year, were turned down by the union's rank and file on
Monday. "The employees have shown that they do not have faith in
the company's ability to successfully return United Airlines to
profitability," said O.V. Delle-Femine, the union's national
director, in a statement quoted by the Washington Post.
A spokesman for United said the airline was "disappointed" in
the mechanics' decision.
But not every analyst closely
watching United's attempt to exit bankruptcy was impressed by the
"This is a delicate game [the mechanics] are playing," Aaron
Gellman said. He's a professor at the Transportation Center for
Chicago's Northwest University. He, too, spoke with the Washington
Post. "It threatens the viability of United."
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