United, pilots union reach tentative agreement to avoid close to 3,000 furloughs

  • United and its pilots union have reached an agreement in principle that could save thousands of jobs.
  • The union's some 13,000 members and leadership still have to vote on the deal.
  • United last month said it plans to furlough 2,850 pilots starting Oct. 1 when federal aid expires.

United Airlines and the union that represents the carrier's 13,000 pilots have reached an agreement in principle to avoid furloughs of close to 3,000 aviators.

The coronavirus pandemic has hammered travel demand. United last month said it plans to furlough or lay off about 16,000 employees, including 2,850 pilots, starting Oct. 1 when the terms of federal aid that prohibited job cuts until then expires.

"Any potential mitigation must achieve our goals: stop planned furloughs, stop displacements, and include long-term permanent gains for any short-term, fully recoverable modifications," said Todd Insler, chairman of the United Airlines chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association told union members in a note Monday, which was reviewed by CNBC.

The union and the airline didn't provide details of the agreement and how it would reduce costs. It wasn't immediately clear how long, if passed, the plan would avoid furloughs. The agreement needs to be approved by union members and leaders.

The airline said in a statement that it continues "to try and reduce the number of involuntary furloughs at United and are happy we were able to reach an agreement in principle with ALPA that can potentially save pilot jobs."  

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