As a provision of the merger between United and Continental Airlines, the carriers agreed to honor the separate airlines’ pilot contracts until a new deal could be negotiated.
The Air Line Pilots Association International, the union representing Continental’s pilots, alleges United has broken that agreement on two counts: First, by selling off B-767 aircraft from Continental’s fleet, and second by cutting the ratio of flying time for Continental pilots compared to their United counterparts on twin-aisle aircraft.
Captain Jay Pierce chairs the Continental chapter of the pilots’ union.
“From a union perspective, we’ll be ready to hear these grievances in front of an arbitrator in thirty days. Anytime the company wants to try and resolve this problem through that arbitration process, we’re ready. But the bottom line is they have to honor our contract.”
The newly merged United issued a statement disagreeing with the pilots’ charges. The airline claims the actions are within its rights under the collective bargaining agreement and are in the best interest of United and its employees.