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United flight attendants accept emergency pay reduction
CHICAGO -- United's flight attendants agreed to temporary 9 percent wage cuts Wednesday to help the airline climb out of bankruptcy.
The flight attendants became the fourth of five United unions to agree to the airline's request for emergency pay cuts. The lone holdout is the Machinists union, whose leaders refused to put pay reductions to a vote by its 37,000 members.
United's pilots and two small unions, representing dispatchers and meteorologists, announced Tuesday that their members had approved immediate double-digit cuts.
"This cut is very painful, especially since flight attendant compensation is so minimal to begin with," said Greg Davidowitch, president of the United branch of the Association of Flight Attendants.
Flight attendants' pay before the cuts ranged from $17,000 to $44,000 a year.
United chief executive Glenn Tilton said he was grateful for the flight attendants' decision.
United, based in Elk Grove Village, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.
The airline said it must reduce wages by $2.4 billion a year through 2008.
The Machinists union, however, has objected to United's proposed 13 percent reductions, saying the company has not provided sufficient evidence.
A bankruptcy judge is expected to rule today or Friday on whether to impose the pay reductions on the Machinists.
United parent UAL Corp. fell 7 cents to close at $1.42 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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