United rehires 600 flight attendants
CHICAGO (Reuters) – United Airlines has rehired 600 flight
attendants and expects to bring back about 850 more later this
year as increased passenger demand means more planes are flying
near capacity, a company spokeswoman said Sunday.
The bankrupt airline, a unit of UAL Corp.
the 600 will return to work by August 9, and the second group
will be brought back by the end of November.
The flight attendants were laid off following a downturn in
airline travel in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“By the end of the year, we expect to have all of our
flight attendants on furlough back,” said United spokeswoman
United, the No. 2 U.S. carrier, is embroiled in a dispute
with its flight attendants, who have threatened to strike over
the termination of company pension plans.
United won court approval in May to shift its four pensions
to U.S. government insurers, a move that would save the carrier
$645 million a year, while eroding employee benefits.
The Association of Flight Attendants, representing United’s
flight attendants, is the only union that has not yet
negotiated a replacement retirement plan for its members.
United, based in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village,
Illinois, is aiming to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection in the fall. The airline has been in bankruptcy
since December 2002.