Alaska Airlines Finally Reaches Record Deal With Flight Attendants Union

In the midst of industry-wide negotiations, Alaska Airlines flight attendants may have confirmed an equitable deal with their employer following months of meetings and protests. 

2 Years of Negotiating

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After close to 2 years of tough negotiations, Alaska Airlines has reached a tentative agreement with its flight attendants late Friday.

Due to Combined Efforts

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The airline announced the deal in an email statement shortly after the agreement was reached: “With our combined efforts, we’ve been able to reach an agreement that provides quality of life and continued career growth at Alaska.” 

Association of Flight Attendants

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All 7,000 Alaska Airlines attendants are represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, which has been pushing for better pay for airline crew, many of whom have not received raises in several years despite rising inflation.

A “Record Contract”

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The details of the deal have not been made public, but the AFA has described it as a “record contract,” and a significant pay raise for attendants is expected.

Pushing for a Significant Pay Increase

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Back in April, the AFA declared they would be pushing for major pay raises for flight attendants, as much as 43% to 56% depending on position and length of time working at the company.

Thanks to Their Actions

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The AFA also reached out to Alaska flight attendants, praising them for remaining steadfast. “Your actions over the last two years of bargaining … ensured we had the leverage to extract every last dollar from Alaska Airlines management,” the message read.

Strike Was Looming

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Just one day before the negotiations ended, the AFA had confirmed that a deal could not be reached. The possibility of a strike had been looming over the airline.

Review, Approval, Vote

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While the deal is likely to go through, the details still need to be reviewed and approved by union leaders, and members must vote to ratify it.

On the Way to Operational

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A presentation of the new contract also needs to be made to the Alaska Airlines Master Executive Council. Once a presentation has been made and a union majority vote has been passed, the deal will become operational.

Cleaning Up Contract Language

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“Over the next several days, both parties will work to clean up the contract language in order to present the full text of the TA to our Master Executive Council (MEC),” the AFA statement explained.

Fraught Negotiations

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While the new deal has seemed amicable, with the airline thanking the union for pushing the deal through, the last year of negotiations has been far more fraught.

2024 Protests

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Last year Alaska Airlines flight attendants held protests and marches at the Ted Stevens Anchorage airport on two separate occasions, with more than 150 attendants picketing in August.

Protests Across the Country

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These demonstrations were part of broader protests by Alaska Airlines flight attendants across the country, calling for the company to end negotiations and agree to pay more sustainable wages.

Putting Pressure on Management

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“We’re picketing to put pressure on management to finalize these negotiations,” LeiLauni Scheideman, president of the Anchorage local Alaska Association of Flight Attendants, told the Anchorage Daily News at the time.

Below Living Wage

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According to Scheideman, first-year flight attendants make just $24,000 annually on average, far below MIT’s estimated US liveable wage of $68,808 per household.

Close to Strike

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Back in February, the Alaska negotiations came close to a strike, after flight attendants authorized a strike mandate for the first time in more than 30 year

99% Vote

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93.47% of flight attendants participated in the union vote, and 99.48% of participants voted in favor of a strike. However, the Railway Labor Act restricted the strike from going ahead.

Industry-Wide Negotiations

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Alaska Airlines flight attendants are far from the only airline employees to engage in fierce negotiations with their employers via union – American Airlines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines have also recently been embroiled in tough negotiations.

Success for Southwest

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Industry negotiations have experienced varying degrees of success. On one hand, Southwest flight attendants achieved a 22.3% raise, which became effective on May 1, along with hundreds of millions worth of back-pay.

Issues for American

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Others have been more tenuous, with American Airlines attendants coming “one step closer to a strike,” according to an announcement from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants last week.

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The post Alaska Airlines Finally Reaches Record Deal With Flight Attendants Union first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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