United Reaches Labor Accord to Cut Airport-Job Outsourcing 40%

United Airlines reached a cost-saving accord with union employees to preserve some airport jobs once targeted to be outsourced to contractors, paring the planned workforce reduction by more than 40 percent.

The agreement with the Machinists union calls for shifting about 1,100 positions at 16 U.S. airports to outside vendors, Chicago-based United said Friday. About 800 jobs once targeted for such moves will be retained at 12 airports, Luke Punzenberger, spokesman for the airline, said in a telephone interview.

United won concessions to cut expenses and keep some of the work in house, Punzenberger said. The proposal is subject to approval by union members.

The deal is a victory for the unit of United Continental Holdings Inc., whose costs have exceeded the industry average more than four years after the merger that created the company from former United parent UAL Corp. and Continental Airlines. United said in January that it was considering outsourcing as many as 2,000 jobs at non-hub airports.

Machinists leaders accepted “reasonable adjustments” in weeks of negotiations with United, the union said in an e-mail sent to members on Thursday.

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