Pilots at Alaska Airlines are to vote on a new tentative collective bargaining agreement after the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Alaska management finally struck a deal after more than three years of negotiations and a strike authorization vote by fed-up pilots.
The pilots union said the tentative agreement addresses several ‘critical’ areas that had seen Alaska fall behind its rivals including a bumper pay rise, improved job security, and quality of life improvements like schedule flexibility.
Many pilots will see their compensation rates increase by between 14 and 23 percent and the agreement has gone through a “huge improvement” to now conform with “industry norms”, the union claims.
“We are pleased, after three years, that we have reached an agreement addressing all the areas in which we’ve lagged our mainline carrier pilot peers for nearly a decade,” said Captain Will McQuillen, chair of the Alaska Airlines ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC) on Friday.
“Not only does this agreement recognize the crucial role pilots have played in the success of Alaska Airlines, it will also help our airline remain competitive in the industry.”
In May, Alaska’s 3,100 pilots voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing strike action after protracted, and increasingly bitter negotiations appeared to stall. Pilot were still a long way off from actually being legally allowed to go on strike but the vote was seemingly enough to get the two sides into mediation.
Facing a nationwide pilot shortage, the ALPA union had warned Alaska that it would struggle to recruit and retain pilots if the airline didn’t significantly improve pay and conditions.
Pilots will get to vote on the agreement within the next few weeks, although it may be several months before the ballot it concluded.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.