Following many months of negotiations, United Continental (NYSE:UAL) met a pivotal point in its two-year integration process on Friday when it reached a deal with a workers union that is comprised of some 11,000 pilots.
Since United and Continental merged, United Airlines has been undergoing the extensive process of integrating two massive airlines, including choosing the unions it will renew contracts with and which systems it will use moving forward.
The agreement with the pilots group is key because it sets new collective bargaining agreements that will set the trail for joint labor contracts farther down the road, meaning the company would be able to move workers and crews across the combined fleet more efficiently.
“This agreement follows intense negotiations with our pilot group and is an important step forward for our company,” Fred Abbott, senior vice president of flight operations for United, said in a statement.
The deal, inked with the Air Line Pilots Association, is subject to definitive documentation, approval by the ALPA master executive councils of each subsidiary and ratification by the company’s pilots.
The road to integration has been bumpy. Notwithstanding the fierce two-year long negotiations with the pilots, United Airlines faced technical problems in March after it merged the two carrier's online reservation systems and web sites.