United, Continental pilots angry over RJ deployment at Continental hubs


Pilots are targeting the end of this month to resolve their dispute with United management over the continued outsourcing of mainline jobs to regional airline counterparts.

See related report: US regional aviation outlook: More than posturing to eliminating regionals

They protested the move made by the new company immediately after the 1-Oct-2010 merger on the redeployment of regional jets to Continental’s hubs essentially breaking the 50-seat, regional-jet cap that has hampered the company and its regional operations for years. They are assuming United is attempting to get as many RJs into Continental’s hubs as possible before the issue is brought into the collective bargaining negotiations.

The two sides have agreed to accelerated arbitration in order to resolve the outsourcing issue before they tackle salaries and scope in a joint collective bargaining agreement for the two pilot work groups. Pilots and management are continuing to negotiate a joint agreement but the idea, from the United pilot perspective, is to wait until the two sides solve all other issues and then deal with scope and salary issues.

United countered pilot protests against outsourcing to larger regional jets to Continental’s hubs by saying that it is allowed, under the current contract, adding that some routes – Houston-Aspen – could not be profitable otherwise. Finally, it said the company was redeploying the jets to meet market demand.

United offered Continental pilots flying from its abandoned Chicago-Fort Lauderdale route and United pilots the Houston-Lima, Peru, service.

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