United Airlines

United, Machinists facing contract deadline

It's coming down to the wire for United Airlines and its largest union. Negotiators for the airline and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers face a Tuesday deadline to get a contract agreement.

About 20-thousand ground workers are threatening to strike. Bargainers continued talks late Monday to try to resolve differences over a new five-year contract. In a message posted on the union's web site, a top union official says negotiators are "encouraged" by progress toward a settlement. One key sticking point is a pension plan.

United favors an investment-based 401 saving plan while the union wants funds to go into its pension plan. If the two sides can't reach an agreement, a bankruptcy judge will decide Tuesday afternoon if United can break the union's contract unilaterally in order to impose lower wages and benefits.