Airlines confront increasing pressure to raise employee wages

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North American pilots and flight attendants are pushing for improved pay and working conditions during contract negotiations with airline managements. Some unions have even voted to authorize a strike if a new contract is not reached, reflecting the challenges faced by the US airline industry in meeting increased travel demand.

Here is the latest on contract negotiations at various companies:

American Airlines Group: Pilots approved a new contract in August that includes over $9.6 billion in pay and benefits increases over four years.

Southwest Airlines: The pilots association announced in May that its members approved a strike mandate, with 98% of members participating in the vote and 99% voting in favor of authorizing a strike.

Delta Air Lines: Pilots at Delta ratified a new contract in March that includes over $7 billion in cumulative increases in wages and benefits over four years. This contract covers 15,000 pilots and provides a 34% cumulative pay increase, among other improvements.

Air Canada: Pilots staged a protest at Toronto’s Pearson Airport in September, demanding better pay and benefits as negotiations continue for a new contract covering 4,500 pilots.

WestJet Airlines: Pilots will receive a 24% hourly raise over four years as part of a tentative agreement reached in May.

United Airlines: Pilots ratified a new four-year contract in September that includes a significant pay increase and other benefits. The contract also improves work-life quality, sick leave, and retirement benefits for United’s 16,000 pilots.

Spirit Airlines: Pilots voted to ratify a new contract in January, offering an economic gain of $463 million, or 27%, over the next two years.

JetBlue Airways: Pilots approved a two-year contract extension in January that includes a compensation increase of 21.5% over 18 months, among other improvements.

FedEx: Pilots rejected a tentative contract deal with the company in July, leading to plans to reopen negotiations.

National Airlines: A tentative agreement was reached with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in October, calling for across-the-board pay raises and other benefits for flight attendants.

Air Transat: Over 2,000 flight attendants unanimously voted to authorize a strike mandate in response to ongoing negotiations, with nearly unanimous support of 99.8%.

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