Oct. 22, 2004 – Pilots at US Airways narrowly approved $300 million in wage and benefit cuts today, making the Air Line Pilots Association the first major union representing US Airways workers to agree to permanent concessions.
The airline, which filed for bankruptcy in September, received approval to enact emergency pay cuts from US Bankruptcy Court last week.
By voting for permanent cuts, the pilots will not be subject to the 21 percent emergency, temporary pay cut. Instead, they will receive a permanent 18 percent pay cut. US Airways will also eliminate health care benefits for pilots after they retire, increase the number of hours pilots are required to fly each month, and reduce the companyâ€™s contribution to pilotsâ€™ retirement plan.
The vote was contentious, with pilots in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia speaking out against accepting the permanent cuts. Union leaders there argued that the cuts in retirement benefits were too severe, especially since they had already been cut when US Airways filed bankruptcy for the first time two years ago.
Other union leaders said they had little choice and that any future contracts would likely have been even worse.