United Airlines mechanics ratify labor contract

CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines and the Teamsters union said Thursday that the carrier’s mechanics have ratified a new labor contract.

With the agreement, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and United Continental Holdings Inc. will begin negotiations on a single contract to cover mechanics who came from both United and Continental. The two airlines combined in October 2010.

The union said the deal with United includes wage increases, continued health care benefits and improved job-security protection. Workers also got an $11,500 signing bonus and regained items that were lost when United went through a bankruptcy reorganization in the last decade, said Roger Apana, a mechanic in Honolulu and a member of the union’s negotiating committee.

The union said the agreement covering about 5,500 workers was “overwhelmingly ratified.”

About 3,600 Teamsters-represented mechanics at Continental approved a separate agreement in November 2010.

United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek, who led Continental before the airlines combined, said last month that it has taken longer than expected to get labor agreements from all the different work groups at the two airlines.

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