Airlines confront increasing pressure to raise employee wages


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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