Continental cuts labor deal with flight attendants as it nears closing combination with United

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Continental cuts labor deal with flight attendants

HOUSTON — Continental Airlines says it has a labor-contract deal with its flight attendants just ahead of combining with United Airlines to form the world’s biggest airline.

Continental said Thursday it reached a tentative contract agreement with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents about 9,300 flight attendants at the Houston company.

Few terms of the contract were released, although the union said it would run for 26 months and included pay raises and provisions to protect jobs as Continental is folded into United.

The union’s negotiating committee endorsed the deal, saying it wanted to lock in wage increases and merger protections and still have the right to return to the bargaining table in 2012 or sooner. A ratification vote is likely to start in mid-October.

Continental expects to close its deal with United this week. The new United will overtake Delta Air Lines to become the world’s No. 1 carrier.

Workers for both United and Continental must figure out how to combine seniority lists.

Continental shares rose 24 cents to $24.77 in midday trading.

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