Continental, attendants reach tentative labor deal

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Jan. 4 at 4:41 p.m.

Continental Airlines, now part of United Continental Holdings Inc., and a union representing thousands of flight attendants reached a tentative labor agreement Tuesday.

The two previously had reached an agreement in late September, a day before United Air Lines’s parent UAL Corp. merged with Continental to vault them over Delta Air Lines Inc. as the world’s biggest airline.

But members rejected that deal, saying it sacrificed too much on item such as sick leave, vacation and 401(k) match, according to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at the time.

The union said Tuesday the new 20-month tentative interim agreement still needs to be ratified by a member vote in the coming weeks.

It said the new deal increases the base wage for more than 9,000 attendant by 2.5% retroactive to the beginning of 2010, with an additional 2.5 percent boost this coming September.

It said additional terms include profit sharing, sick leave enhancements, company contributions to retirement plans and numerous work-rule improvements. The union said the new agreement also improves job security through a no-furlough clause.

Sam Risoli, vice president of United Continental’s inflight service, called the agreement fair and said it was “another positive step forward” as management works to combine the two companies.

United Continental shares were down a penny in after-hours trading at $25.52.

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