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Alaska Airlines reaches tentative labour deal with flight attendants union

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 has lost a chunk of its fuselage during a flight
© Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines and its 7,000-member attendants' union have reached a tentative labour agreement after more than a year and a half of negotiations, reported CNN.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the union described it as a “record contract.”

It is expected that the agreement includes a significant pay increase, a common demand across the airline industry, especially from unions whose members have not received a pay raise in years.

In April, the union announced to members that it was seeking pay raises of between 43% to 56%, depending on seniority, through 2026. These pay raises would include back pay covering the year and a half during which they have been working under the terms of the previous contract.

The union credited its members' actions over the past two years of bargaining for ensuring they had the leverage to “extract every last dollar from management.”

Alaska Airlines expressed satisfaction with reaching an agreement and thanked the union negotiators. “With our combined efforts, we've been able to reach an agreement that provides quality of life and continued career growth at Alaska,” the airline said in a statement. The agreement still requires approval from union leadership and rank-and-file members to be implemented.

In February, union members voted 99.5% in favour of authorising a strike. However, under the Railway Labor Act, which governs airline workers, they could not go on strike despite the contract reaching its scheduled end date in December 2022. As a result, union members continued to work under the terms and pay of the expired contract. These restrictions on striking do not apply to most private sector employees.

In February, flight attendants from Alaska Airlines, along with those from , United, and Southwest, held unprecedented coordinated pickets to demand new contracts.

Since then, Southwest flight attendants have reached an agreement that included an immediate 22.3% raise as of May 1, and US$364 million in retroactive wages.

Meanwhile, flight attendants at American and United are still negotiating for new deals. American flight attendants have requested to be released from restrictions so they can strike, but even if granted, there would be months of cooling-off periods before they could walk out, as mandated by the Railway Labor Act.

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