Hawaiian Air reaches
deal with mechanics

Hawaiian Airlines said yesterday it has reached a tentative labor agreement with its mechanics union, the third labor pact in as many months ahead of a key bankruptcy hearing later this month.

Hawaiian Air The agreement would extend the contracts of the mechanics unit of the International Association of Machinists by three years once Hawaiian exits Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It must be ratified by the 376 employees, who include aircraft inspectors, mechanics, line servicemen and cleaners.

Hawaiian declined to reveal details of the agreement until it is presented to the unit's workers. Union representatives could not be reached for comment.

Federal Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris is scheduled to decide on Jan. 25 whether to confirm a reorganization plan that would bring the airline out of its nearly 2-year-old bankruptcy. Without the agreements, Faris could potentially cancel Hawaiian's union contracts.

"This is another important step for Hawaiian," said Joshua Gotbaum, the airline's trustee. "We cannot exit bankruptcy without new labor agreements, and now three have been negotiated, covering more than 60 percent of our organized employees."

Hawaiian reached an agreement last month on a three-year contract extension with the clerical unit of the IAM, the largest of the airline's five unions.

The clerical unit represents 1,342 accounting, reservations, customer services and ramp services employees.

That deal includes a profit-sharing provision and wage increases, but it also boosts the monthly payments that members must contribute for their health benefits.

In November, Hawaiian struck a deal with the 27-member Transport Workers Union, which represents Hawaiian's dispatchers. The union ratified a new three-year contract last month.

None of the new agreements will take effect until Hawaiian has agreements with all of its unions in place.

Other unions still in negotiations are the Association of Flight Attendants, which has 824 members at the carrier; the Air Line Pilots Association, with 304 workers; and computer network engineers, with eight members.

Sharon Soper, president of Hawaiian's flight attendants group, said the union was nearing completion of a contract proposal that it planned to present to the airline, possible as early as last night.

Hawaiian Airlines

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