United Airlines and Pilots Union Reach Accord

United's reached a labor agreement with the pilots' union, including an early retirement deal for pilots 62 and older.
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United Airlines Holdings  (UAL) - Get Report said it had reached an agreement with its pilots' union  as the carrier contends with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of the Chicago company at last check were off 1.2% to $34.09.

A United spokesperson said in a statement that its agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association International "will offer pilots a variety of voluntary separation and reduced staffing options to consider as we continue to manage the unprecedented impact the pandemic is having on the airline industry." 

The airline industry has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic as self-quarantine and social-distancing requirements forced severe reductions in travel.

"Although we face the reality of having to be a smaller airline due to the historic drop in travel demand," United statement said, "we have worked closely with all of our union partners to identify solutions to help reduce the number of involuntary furloughs."  

United's agreement with the ALPA includes an early retirement deal for pilots 62 and older, Reuters reported. And it includes several options for pilots to voluntarily reduce their hours or take leaves of absence, during which they would potentially receive health benefits as long as they keep up their training, covered by United.

The union said in statement that "the agreements include voluntary furlough and company leave of absence programs, as well as a voluntary separation leave initiative."

"We have negotiated continued active employee health insurance benefits for furloughed pilots in conjunction with groundbreaking provisions that provide the option to remain qualified, allowing a faster recall once passenger demand returns,” Captain Todd Insler, chairman of the United ALPA, said.

Last week, United warned that it may have to cut 45% of its workforce, or 36,000 employees, as the carrier struggles with the pandemic shutdown.

American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Report shares fell 2.7% to $12.07, Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Report slipped 0.3% to $27.18, and Southwest Airlines  (LUV)   gave up 0.4% to $34.07.