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United Union Proposes Giveback

Flight attendants offer to take a 3.6% pay cut in negotiations with the airline, which is trying to stave off bankruptcy.

October 28, 2002|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — United Airlines' flight attendants union, one of five unions negotiating with the airline to cut labor costs by billions of dollars and stave off bankruptcy, has offered to take a 3.6% cut in pay, a union spokeswoman said Sunday.

Sara Dela Cruz of the Assn. of Flight Attendants said the proposal made to the financially strapped airline includes an agreement to forgo a lump-sum payment in 2003 and a raise in 2004.

Dela Cruz said the 25,000-member union is the first of the five unions in negotiations with the company to inform its members of a proposal. This year, the flight attendants refused to participate in financial recovery talks initiated by management.

The nation's No. 2 carrier is seeking $5.8 billion in cutbacks over 5 1/2 years.

Dela Cruz would not say how much money will be saved with the 3.6% pay cut. She said the proposal is just one step in the negotiating process. If United accepts it, she said, then the tentative agreement would be put to the union members for a vote.

This month, UAL Corp.'s United reported an $889-million third-quarter loss. It has been losing money from its operations at a rate of $7 million a day.

Dela Cruz said news last week that United paid its new chief executive a $3-million bonus to sign a five-year contract was "a tough pill to swallow to anyone staring down the barrel of concessions."

But she said the fact that CEO Glenn Tilton made the bonus public is "evidence that this CEO is being forthright with his employees and not trying to hide anything."

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