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Airline update.

A 3-month strike against Alaska Airlines ended when members of the Machinists union approved a contract proposal that included a two-tier pay system and productivity improvements, including more flexible work rules and greater use of part-time employees. The contract also included an open-shop provision, which means that workers in the bargaining unit need not be members of the union.

Four unions agreed to purchase Frontier Airlines using savings resulting from wage concessions negotiated with the carrier. The $210.8 million buyout price was subject to approval by Frontier's board of directors. The four unions are the Air Line Employees Association, the Air Line Pilots Association, the Association of Flight Attendants, and the Transport Workers. A fifth union, the Machinists, apparently will not participate in the buyout.

Northwest Airlines and the Machinists agreed to a 40-month contract that includes a two-tier pay structure. Under the provision, new hires will be paid 21 to 50 percent less than the 4,500 current employees. After 5 years of service, the new workers will move up to the higher pay scale. The contract also provides for a pay increase totaling 10.1 percent over the term. After the final increase on July 1, 1987, maximum rates will be $18.50 for mechanics and $16.80 for equipment service workers.

USAir and the Association of Flight Attendants negotiated a 2-year contract that includes a two-tier pay provision. Under the provision, attendants hired after August 13 will receive an average of 22 percent less pay than those already on the payroll. After completing 6 years of service, the new hires will move up to the same pay level as other employees. The 2,200 current employees will receive a 4.04-percent wage increase over the 2-year term of the contract, which was retroactive to September 1, 1984.

American Airlines and the Allied Pilots Association amended their 1983 agreement to narrow the pay gap between new and veteran employees. The parties also agreed to pay increases to bring American pilots up to the pay level of the company's major competitors. The carrier did not reveal details of the contract amendments, which were negotiated under a reopening provision, but a union official said that although all of the 4,500 employees received pay increases, those with low seniority received the largest increase. In a change benefitical to American, the pilots agreed to fly overtime in certain months, if necessary to maintain full flight schedules. Previously, the pilots could not be assigned to fly more than 75 hours a month, which had forced American Airlines to cut back scheduled flights twice in the last year.
COPYRIGHT 1985 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Oct 1, 1985
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