United Airlines and maintenance workers’ union pause contract talks

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BY JEFFREY DASTIN

United Continental Holdings Inc and its maintenance workers’ union said on Friday that they paused talks on a new contract after a rival airline tentatively agreed to a wage increase.

United said in an online message to employees that it met with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for the last two weeks and made headway on healthcare, sick time and hours of service. The message, posted on unitednegotiations.com, said the company offered significant pay increases, but a deal that the Teamsters reached Wednesday with American Airlines Group Inc “reset the market.”

Chicago-based United is assessing how that deal, which increased pay for American’s passenger service agents, affected industry wages, the message said. It will reconvene talks with the Teamsters in two weeks.

The pause reflects the company’s challenge in reaching labor deals and integrating its workforce since United and Continental merged in 2010. Each still has its own contracts with flight attendants and maintenance technicians.

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