United Airlines and its machinists union this afternoon reached an agreement in principle "on all outstanding issues," according to a posting on the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers' website. Eugene Wedoff, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge hearing United's Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection case, granted a joint request by the airline and the machinists union for added time to finalize details of the pact, "and to allow time for actuaries to complete the necessary due diligence on the pension plan and related economic issues," according to the website. The court scheduled a June 17 hearing to consider the machinists contract.
The status of the machinists' pension plan under the agreement in principle was unclear from the posting. The union had said they're set to strike if the court terminates their collective bargaining agreement. Joseph Tiberi, IAM spokesman, did not return a call seeking comment by press time, and Jean Medina, United spokeswoman, was unavailable for comment by press time.
Separately, United asked a bankruptcy court today for approval of a new contract with its mechanics union, according to court documents. Under a proposed contract, members of United's mechanics union would not oppose termination of their pension plan and would each take a 3.9% pay cut. In exchange, the carrier would contribute 4% of salary to a new defined contribution plan and make an added annual contribution based on age and years of service, according to United's motion. Union members approved the agreement with United, the union announced today on its website. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago was slated to consider the proposed contract at a hearing this afternoon.