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Pilots at US Airways Group Inc. voted Thursday to ratify a new labor contract that the airline said will save the company $300 million annually. The agreement, which is in effect until Dec. 31, 2009, calls for an 18 percent pay cut, a decrease in company contributions to the pilots’ defined contribution plan and a modification of work rules aimed at increasing productivity. It also offers the pilots profit sharing and equity. The deal supersedes a bankruptcy court decision earlier this month that imposed an interim 21 percent cut on US Air’s unionized workers. Terms call for the new contract to take effect retroactive to Oct. 15, subject to approval by the union’s president and approval of the bankruptcy court. The court is scheduled to consider the agreement Tuesday. The pilots’ vote is a victory for US Air, which is trying to extract $1.5 billion in cost cuts in its second bankruptcy filing in just over two years. Some close to the company had privately expressed concern in recent weeks that the company’s pilots, still angry about the cuts they have already been forced to take, would vote down the agreement reached with management. The union said that about 58 percent of voting pilots approved the deal. Nearly 90 percent of the union’s 3,300 eligible members cast ballots. The carrier in a statement praised the pilots for having “demonstrated their leadership in working with us as we transform US Airways into a successful and competitive airline.” US Air still is hoping to negotiate permanent reductions with its other major unions, including its flight attendants and its contentious mechanics union. A source close to the company said that management hopes the pilots’ vote will put pressure on other labor groups to get deals done. The pilots also turned up the heat on other unions. “Management and salaried employees, along with other labor groups, must also participate in the transformation plan,” said Jack Stephan, a spokesman for US Air’s pilots union, in a statement. “We look forward to management reaching consensual agreements with all employee groups.” Copyright �2004 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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