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US Airways Mechanics OK Contract

October 6, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ US Airways mechanics voted to accept a new contract, averting a strike against the nation’s sixth largest airline, the union announced Wednesday.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said the five-year contract was approved by a 3-1 margin of ballots cast Tuesday at local union offices across the country.

``This agreement addresses the concerns raised by the membership after the previous agreement was rejected, and is an example of what the solidarity and determination of our members and the negotiating committee can provide,″ said union vice president Robert Roach, Jr.

Approval of the contract by the union’s rank and file had been uncertain.

In July, the mechanics voted down one potential agreement, and a strike deadline was just four days away when federally mediated talks reached another deal Sept. 21.

The union had continued to threaten to strike US Airways within 48 hours if the revised agreement was defeated.

About 7,500 mechanics, airplane cleaners and other maintenance workers for US Airways, based in Arlington, Va., are covered by the new contract, which promises immediate bonuses and raises for all.

Experienced US Airways mechanics earn about $23 an hour.

The airline, meanwhile, won the right to use a limited number of part-time workers on crews that clean aircraft between flights. A key difference between the first, rejected contract and the one union members approved was a lower cap on the number of part-time workers allowed.

``While the company faces a significant loss for the third quarter, this new agreement is a major milestone on our path toward shedding our noncompetitive cost structure,″ said US Airways President Rakesh Gangwal.

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