United Continental Holdings Inc. airport and reservations agents voted to join the Machinists union, resolving representation for one of the biggest work groups at the world’s largest airline.
There were 8,305 votes for the Machinists and 5,865 for no representation, the union said today in a statement. Chicago-based United had 16,720 employees eligible to cast ballots.
Resolving the issue paves the way for contract talks to begin with the company, formed by the 2010 merger of United Airlines parent UAL Corp. with Continental Airlines Inc. United Airlines’ airport and reservations workers had been represented by the Machinists, while their counterparts at Continental weren’t in a union.
“We will work closely with them on a contract for all of our passenger service co-workers that is fair to the company and fair to employees,” Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman for United, said in an e-mail message.
The Machinists last year won another election to represent ramp and cargo workers. About 72 percent of United’s 87,000 employees were represented by unions as of December, according to the carrier’s most recent annual report.