United Airlines pilots to get raises of more than 14% in new contract

United Airlines Boeing 777ER. Plane for Leonardo da Vinci airport in Fiumicino.

Massimo Insabato | Mondadori Wallet | Getty Images

United Airlines’ pilots’ union has approved a tentative deal that would give airmen wage increases of more than 14%, making it the first major U.S. carrier to strike a deal amid the pandemic and set the bar for the rest of the industry.

The deal comes as the airline and others grapple with a shortage of pilots, which some carriers say has forced them to cut flight schedules.

Under the deal approved Friday, the pilots would get more than 14.5% pay increases within 18 months, according to the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents about 14,000 United pilots. The two-year deal also includes eight weeks of paid maternity leave, a first for the carrier’s pilots.

The agreement sets the tone for negotiations between unions and other major US carriers, including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, as labor groups seek to improve the quality of life after two years of the pandemic. Some pilots say airlines have created grueling schedules to take advantage of a rebound in travel that has left them tired and have recently been picketing to protest the conditions.

Flight attendants and other work groups at major carriers are also in contract talks.

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