US Airways has reached a tentative labor agreement with its machinists, mechanics and fleet service workers, eliminating what could have been a thorny barrier to a completed merger with American Airlines.
The tentative agreement was announced Monday after more than two years of negotiations. US Airways workers complained that they were being paid less than their counterparts at American Airlines, and threatened to strike.
The new contract was approved by union representatives but must still be approved by the labor group's 11,000 members.
Once the contract is approved, the newly merged American Airlines and US Airways can negotiate a combined contract with the machinists, mechanics and fleet service workers from both carriers.
"We look forward to working together to reach joint collective bargaining agreements for all of the employees in these job classifications at American Airlines," said Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive of American Airlines.
The union, the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, issued a statement Monday, saying the tentative contract "addresses the current needs of the membership."
The union said the tentative contract calls for increased salaries, extra vacation time and sick pay, plus an improved pension.
A union representative said the new agreement brings the salaries of US Airways workers "up to par" with workers from American Airlines. Online posts from union mechanics also say the agreement calls for a 3% pay increase when the contract is signed, plus 3% hikes in September, 2014 and September, 2015.