United Pilots Get Pay Raise in 2-Year Labor Agreement

CHICAGO (Chicago Tribune/TNS) -

United Airlines pilots approved a two-year extension of their labor agreement Friday that will provide increased pay and keep them in the cockpit through Jan. 31, 2019.

Pilots for the Chicago-based airline got a 3 percent raise Jan. 1, with an additional 13 percent increase kicking in next week, according to a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association. Additional raises of 3 percent and 2 percent will take effect over the next two years.

The agreement, which also restores pay and vacation to previously furloughed pilots, was approved by a 79 percent vote, with 91 percent of United’s 10,569 eligible pilots participating. The increased compensation puts United pilots “at the top of the industry,” according to ALPA.

“This is an agreement that recognizes the professionalism and contributions our pilots make each day to the success of United Airlines,” Jay Heppner, chairman of the United Master Executive Council of ALPA, said in a statement. “It has long been our contention that this pilot group is among the most talented and experienced in the airline business.”

On Thursday, United Continental Holdings reported a fourth-quarter profit of $823 million, or $2.24 a share, compared with $28 million, or 7 cents a share, a year ago.

United CEO Oscar Munoz, who had a heart transplant Jan. 6, is expected to return from medical leave as early as the end of March.