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updated: 9/27/2013 7:06 AM

United Airlines, ground workers reach a deal

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  • Chicago-based United Airlines and the union for many of its ground workers announced a new agreement on Thursday.

      Chicago-based United Airlines and the union for many of its ground workers announced a new agreement on Thursday.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

Chicago-based United Airlines and the union for many of its ground workers announced a new agreement on Thursday.

If the deal is approved, the airline's 28,000 baggage handlers, gate and reservations workers, and storekeepers would become the second group along with pilots to have a joint contract covering workers who came from both United and Continental. The two airlines merged in 2010 and the combined operation flies under the United name.

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The workers, who are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, voted down a deal in March despite a recommendation from union's negotiating committee that they approve it.

The new agreement includes back pay, signing bonuses, and maintains pensions for those who have them now. It also includes a 401k match. Top pay rates rise to about $24 per hour for most workers, with future raises included in the deal, which runs through Jan. 1, 2017.

The new deal "places IAM-represented workers at the top of the industry in the areas that the membership said were most important: wages, job security, pension benefits and health insurance," IAM District 141 President Rich Delaney said in a prepared statement.

The most recent talks were guided by the National Mediation Board.

Other unionized workers, including flight attendants, are still negotiating for joint contracts to cover workers who came from both airlines.

Shares of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc. fell 6 cents to close at $34.07.

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