United Continental Holdings Inc. reached a tentative contract with its mechanics union, potentially bringing to a close an almost three-year standoff.
More than 8,600 technicians and similar employees around the U.S. will now vote on the proposal, United said Friday. The airline still has to reach a deal with its flight attendants, who are divided among those who started with pre-merger UAL Corp. and Continental Airlines.
The potential deal is a significant win for the world’s second-largest carrier and its new leadership team. Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz, on the job just over a month, promised to bridge a persistent union-mangement divide, and acting CEO Brett Hart vowed to carry on that effort after Munoz suffered a heart attack last week.
“Investing in our people is key to United’s long-term success, so I’m encouraged that we have reached this agreement with such an important part of our workforce,” Hart said.
United and its mechanics had been negotiating since November 2012, according to the Teamsters’ website. An Oct. 1 memo from the union to its members said at the time that both sides had issued contract proposals covering wages, healthcare, scope and pension issues. However, the two sides’ final vision remained “drastically different,” the memo said.
The proposed agreement includes pay increases, a signing bonus pool and an early buyout offer. United rose 3.4 percent to $57.98 at 11:11 a.m. in New York.