April 21, 2024

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Alaska Airlines flight attendants agree to strike for the first time in 3 decades

Alaska Airlines flight attendants agree to strike for the first time in 3 decades

Alaska Airlines flight attendants voted Tuesday to strike for the first time in more than 30 years.

News of the vote emerged when more than 60 flight attendants protested better pay outside Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

Voting does not mean a strike.

But the decision raises the stakes as attendees try to negotiate what they say is their first new contract in a decade. They say Alaska Airlines has given large pay raises to pilots but doesn't even provide a livable wage to some of its flight attendants.

Negotiations may It continued For more than a year, flight attendants have held multiple protests outside Anchorage Airport and other airports nationwide.

On Tuesday, Alaska Airlines flight attendants staged a sit-in outside 30 airports in three countries, said Rebecca Owens, spokeswoman for the Anchorage District 30 Board of Flight Attendants Association. Flight attendants from 24 airlines participated.

Alaska Airlines He said It said in a statement on Tuesday that it was making progress in negotiations.

“We remain optimistic about the negotiation process,” the company said. “With six recent business deals closed at the company and a tentative agreement reached in January for a new contract for our technicians, we hope to do the same for our flight attendants as soon as possible.” AFA and Alaska leadership have met twice in the past three weeks and continue to bargain and meet with the mediator. The discussions were fruitful, and in the last two sessions, we reached four preliminary agreements.”

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The statement continued: “Although talk of a strike is troubling, especially for our guests and the communities that rely on our services, it will not happen quickly.” “Many other steps will have to be taken over several months, if not longer, before a strike becomes possible,” he added.

The dispute comes as Alaska Air faces disrupted flight schedules after part of the fuselage of a Boeing 737 MAX 9 exploded mid-flight last month, an incident that grounded planes and Boeing said it was responsible for. .

Owens said Alaska Air is touting strong profits and has offered $1.9 billion to acquire Hawaiian Airlines.

But it said it did not offer reasonable pay increases to flight attendants. Many flight attendants are paid substandard wages, forcing some to rely on their partner or husband's income for financial stability, Owens said.

[With some flight attendants on welfare, Alaska Airlines faces contract fight]

Union officials said first-year flight attendants at the airline earn an average base wage of less than $24,000 annually.

“This is not a job that pays enough to support yourself,” Owens said.

Dozens of off-duty flight attendants, joined by pilots, held picket signs and chanted near her as she spoke. They walked in brisk winds near the Alaska Airlines terminal.

Some signs say: “Alaska makes $$$$.” “We can't pay the rent.”

Owens said the airline's more than 5,900 flight attendants voted 99% in favor of striking this week. The union said ballots will be sent to 6,800 flight attendants.

The union said that before a strike can take place, the National Mediation Council must declare that negotiations have reached an impasse, putting both parties in a 30-day “cooling off” period leading up to the strike deadline.

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The union is pursuing a strike strategy known as CHAOS, or “creating havoc around our system.” Owens said it uses unannounced strikes on random flights.

The last time Alaska Air flight attendants went on strike was in 1993, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said in a statement Tuesday.

The union said the airline had seen “significant reductions” in ticket bookings because passengers did not know until the last minute whether their flight would be affected or not.

“You can't fly without flight attendants,” Sarah Nelson, president of the International Association of Flight Attendants, said in the statement. “If Alaska management doesn’t remember what happens when you don’t respect flight attendants, we are willing to show them that. It is time to reach a fair agreement.”

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