WASHINGTON — Pan American World Airways reached a tentative contract agreement with its flight attendants Monday. The pact includes a pay raise and changes in work rules the airline sought in an effort to increase productivity and reduce costs.
Negotiators for the company and the 6,000-member Independent Union of Flight Attendants reached the settlement about 12 hours after a union-set midnight strike deadline passed without a job walkout.
With the proposal, the union accepted concessions that include reductions in health and welfare benefits and a new wage structure paying less to newly hired workers.
If approved, the new contract will give Pan Am authority to hire lower-paid, non-union foreign nationals on some international routes, and would allow furlough of as many as half the union's members.
Formal Terms Not Public
Federal mediator Walter C. Wallace, who stayed with negotiators for both sides during the final 27 hours of talks, said that formal terms of the agreement would not be disclosed until it was ratified by the union members. Wallace said it would probably take 30 days for the ratification vote.
But Pan Am Chairman C. Edward Acker praised the union leadership for "demonstrating its support for the long-term objectives of Pan Am."
The airline had been seeking concessions to lower benefit costs and to change work rules for flight attendants.
"This new contract provides significant work-rule changes which will greatly enhance Pan Am's ability to compete in a deregulated environment," Acker said in a written statement.
Would Restore Rollbacks
The agreement includes wage increases of 21.5% over the three years of the contract, said Jeff Kriendler, Pan Am vice president for corporate communications. Part of that would restore wage rollbacks of 10% or more that flight attendants had accepted in recent years, he said.
Mike Dragovic, a Pan Am flight attendant and volunteer in the union's New York office, voiced disappointment with the agreement and said that it includes most of what the company had sought.
Also under the agreement, 3,000 or more flight attendants would be furloughed without pay for at least a month, or given the option of taking their paid vacation time, Kriendler said.
The new contract would change work rules to reduce pay to attendants for time not actually spent in the air while they are away from their home bases.