United Airlines ground workers approve concessions

United Airlines ground workers approve concessions

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of United Airlines ground services workers at 12 airports on the mainland have saved their jobs by voting to take pay cuts.

The IAM, or International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, said Monday night that in each market where concessions were proposed to prevent outsourcing, workers voted to accept those changes to their contract by more than the required two-thirds margin.

The concessions, designed to bring the cost of the affected jobs closer to the purported cost of outsourcing the same work, included wage reductions of about $2 an hour, the union said, and changes to work rules allowing split shifts. The company will also end its 401(k) contributions for the affected workers.

"The participation level of members voting was outstanding," said Rich Delaney of Local 141.

Affected airports, where jet service above and below the wing will remain in the IAM unit, include Reno and San Jose. Jobs were saved above the wing only in Sacramento. At other mainland airports IAM decided it would not be feasible to make a counteroffer to the outsource bids United had received.

"We thank all members in these stations for giving serious consideration to the tentative agreement and making their choice for the future," Delaney said.

United has the right to determine whether it outsources work, but IAM won the contractual right to be consulted, and to be given the opportunity to offer contract concessions that might make it economical for the airline to keep the jobs in-house.

Last year contract concessions saved United Airlines ground service jobs at Lihue, Kahului and Kona, and United then decided to end previously-arranged outsourcing at Honolulu International to use in-house staff again.

Senior workers whose jobs are outsourced may bump into company work in other cities if they are willing to move. But if they want to stay in the same city, they could wind up working for a contractor to do the same work as before but for lower wages and benefits.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.