United agents elect union representation


July 18, 1998

In the largest airline election in National Mediation Board history and the largest private-sector win for organized labor in more than two decades, more than 18,000 passenger service and reservation agents at United Airlines voted to be represented by the Upper Marlboro-based Machinists union.

The nationwide organizing drive covered 113 cities, 16 reservations centers and dozens of city ticket offices. The effort was sparked by the terms of the employee buyout of the carrier in 1994.

United's prior management acted as the representative for nonunion employees. Under that system, nonunion employees got fewer shares of stock in United's employee stock ownership plan than did the airline's union employees, along with substantially lower pay and reduced benefits if they were hired after the ESOP began in July 1994.

`Now we will get down to what this election was all about, negotiating a contract for United's passenger service and reservation agents that truly puts employees first," said William Scheri, transportation vice president for the Machinists union.

Pub Date: 7/18/98

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