By Ely Portillo, McClatchy Newspapers –
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — US Airways Group Inc. and its 6,700 flight attendants have reached a tentative deal for a new, joint contract that will unite flight attendants from US Airways and the former America West and resolve one of the carrier’s long-running labor disputes.
The contract was announced early Friday. Details of the deal were not disclosed. Flight attendants have been operating under separate contracts since 2005, when America West acquired US Airways while the carrier was in bankruptcy court.
“We are very pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the (Association of Flight Attendants) and thank the union leadership for their dedication in support of our flight attendants,” US Airways CEO Doug Parker said in a statement.
The airline and union have been meeting under federal mediation. Last week, as sessions drew closer to a deal, the union says negotiations stretched into the night, up to 3 a.m. Sunday.
The agreement must still be approved by the flight attendants’ union, a process expected to take several weeks. It does not cover US Airways Express flight attendants, such as those working for the wholly owned subsidiary PSA Airlines, who are still in negotiations.
The deal with the flight attendants leaves one major union — the pilots — still struggling to integrate the “East” and “West” group. Pilots from the old US Airways and America West have been unable to reach an agreement on a combined seniority list. Their internal fight and negotiations with US Airways are still working their way through the courts and federal mediation.
Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways, the country’s fifth-largest carrier, is studying a possible merger with American Airlines, the No. 3 carrier. American is currently working its way through bankruptcy court.