Chicago, IL -
Pilots at United Airlines have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike after 99% cast their ballot in favor of the strike. The move to strike comes two year after United and Continental Airlines merged and the failure of United to reach a joint agreement with both sets of pilots.
Both sides are now headed to the National Mediation Board (NMB) and if it the NMB concludes further negotiations are hopeless, a mandatory 30-day cooling off period will being. After that, if there is no solution, pilots will be able to start their strike in an action termed "self-help".
Pilots at United are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA).
Captain Jay Heppner, chairman of the United Master Executive Council, remarked:
“Over the last decade, pilots made several major sacrifices to help the airline survive and management has done absolutely nothing to restore those sacrifices. In fact, they have done the opposite by offshoring and outsourcing our jobs at the very same time they have given themselves millions of dollars in salary, bonuses and perks. When management makes decisions based on their own needs instead of the needs of customers and employees, the company suffers, which is what is happening today. If a strike is what it is going to take to wake up the company’s leadership, the pilots are prepared to act..”
Pilots have been disgruntled over what it calls "lack of real intent" by United Airlines management, and have struggle for two years to agree on a collective bargain agreement with the airline.