Flight attendants at US Airways approved a new contract on Thursday that wraps up some unfinished business from the airline's 2005 merger with America West, and gets them started on the next merger, with American.
Eighty percent of flight attendants voted to approve the deal, according to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. They had rejected two previous tentative agreements, although the most recent vote in September was very close. The new deal includes terms that address the proposed merger with American Airlines.
US Airways said that within 30 days, talks will begin to lay out a plan for a combined contract to cover flight attendants at US Airways and American. Those four-way talks will include both airlines and both flight attendant unions.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants represents roughly 16,000 workers at American, while US Airways said it has 6,800 flight attendants.
The airlines are aiming to close the merger by the end of September.
The vote on Thursday means that flight attendants who came from both America West and the old US Airways finally have a single contract covering both groups. Previously, they worked under different rules, and the airline scheduled them separately.
The new contract, which takes effect Saturday, fixes that. It also grants raises.
US Airways pilots still fly under two separate contracts because of a seniority dispute.
Shares of Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways Group Inc. rose 11 cents to $13.52 in afternoon trading.