(Reuters) - United Airlines, a unit of United Continental Holdings, has reached an agreement with the union representing employees from fleet service, passenger service and certain other work groups to expedite contract negotiations.
United said it signed an agreement with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union, which represents more than 30,000 employees at the airline, to expedite contract negotiations for joint collective bargaining agreements for the groups the union represents.
The former United Airlines and Continental Airlines closed their $3.17 billion merger in 2010, forming the world's largest airline, now known as United Airlines.
One of the biggest obstacles to the completion of the merger had been the integration of two work forces with joint contracts.
"Airline consolidation has complicated industry negotiations, no more so than at United Airlines," IAM District 141 President Rich Delaney said.
The parties have agreed to a bargaining process and timeline designed to achieve joint collective agreements before the year-end, United said in a statement.
Earlier this month, United Continental said it reached an agreement in principle with its pilots union, advancing the carrier's effort to integrate its staff.
(Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)