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United and Continental merged way back in 2010, but up until this week, the flight attendants from both airlines had yet to agree on a contract that would allow them to work together on the same planes. For the past six years, United flight attendants have operated flights on United planes, and ex-Continental flight attendants (now working for United) operated flights with Continental’s old fleet. While much of the public was shielded from the logistical challenges that went along with separate groups of flight attendants, it’s certainly made things more difficult for the airline and everyone else intimately involved.
Well, as per Bloomberg, an announcement from the Association of Flight Attendants and a press release from United, both groups voted in favor of the a new contract which will lead to integration. Here’s what the AFA had to say about the vote:
Fellow Flight Attendants,
We have a ratified contract. With some of the highest numbers in AFA history, over 90 percent participated in the vote with 53% voting to ratify the agreement. You have participated in a historic vote and there is no doubt that every single one of you is deeply engaged and cares about our future.
There will be much to communicate regarding implementation of our agreement. Look for those communications in the coming days and weeks.
This vote means we are moving forward together to achieve the benefits of a fully integrated airline. Today, make it a point to reach out to someone you don’t know, but who shares our wings and our future. Our strength comes from how we take care of each other.
We are one airline. We are one union. We are one.
Under the new contract, flight attendants will see pay rates jump by as much as 31% — FAs with at least 13 years of experience will be paid $62 per hour. United’s CEO is credited with negotiating the new contract, with the union’s president saying “This contract would not have been possible without the commitment of Oscar Munoz to unite United Airlines.” This new agreement will cover the next five years, at which point it may be renegotiated.
Congratulations to United Airlines and the 65,000 employees covered by this new contract!
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