The Wall Street Journal: United Continental to halt airport-job outsourcing until end of 2016

United Continental Holdings Inc., which has outsourced jobs at 39 U.S. airports since 2013 to vendors who perform the duties at lower cost, said Friday that it will halt that practice until at least the end of 2016.

About 2,300 jobs were eliminated through the outsourcing, although some furloughed employees who had adequate seniority were able to transfer to other locations.

An additional 16 airports that could have been targeted for job cuts are protected for now, United said. In addition, the company’s labor contract with check-in, baggage-handling and customer service workers represented by the International Association of Machinists currently exempts 23 busier airports and seven domestic hubs from job cuts.

In a message to airport employees Friday, Jon Roitman, senior vice president of airport operations, said the company is responding to employee concerns about job security. He pledged that no additional front-line positions would be outsourced until the Machinists union contracts open for renewal at the end of 2016.

The decision grew out of new attention to employee concerns introduced by Oscar Munoz, who took over as chief executive of United UAL, +0.10%   in early September with ideas about how to bolster employee morale and customer service by actively soliciting feedback. Mr. Munoz suffered a heart attack on Oct. 15 and is out on indefinite medical leave. United last week named Brett Hart, the company’s then-general counsel, as acting CEO.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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