The move follows two years of negotiations between United Continental and the Air Line Pilots Association on a joint contract covering pilots from both pre-merger airlines.
Captain Jay Pierce, chairman of the ALPA unit representing the Continental pilots, says that while a strike is never the pilots’ preference, they’re more than willing to use every tool at their disposal.
Last week, ALPA submitted a request for arbitration to the National Mediation Board, with the provision it be released to strike if both parties don’t accept. If the Board releases the parties, the pilots would be allowed to strike following a thirty-day cooling off period.
The date for a strike vote by the pilots has yet to be determined.