updated 1/28/2005 11:36:34 AM ET 2005-01-28T16:36:34

United Airlines' mechanics union announced Friday that its members rejected a tentative contract agreement, dealing the carrier a setback in its efforts to cut labor costs without alienating its workers.

Members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association also voted to authorize a strike if United succeeds in its efforts to get a federal bankruptcy judge to impose its own terms, union spokesman Richard Turk said.

The union represents about 7,000 United mechanics. Vote totals were not announced.

The contract, agreed to earlier this month by negotiators, would have cut wages by 5 percent for mechanics, followed by 1.5 percent annual pay increases through the life of the contract. About 570 employees who clean aircraft cabins would have seen their wages cut by 10 percent.

United pilots and flight attendants are conducting similar contract ratification votes, with the results to be announced Monday.

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