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Flight Attendants at Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Reel Off List of Demands For Them to Support Proposed Merger

Flight Attendants at Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Reel Off List of Demands For Them to Support Proposed Merger

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The union, which represents flight attendants at both Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian, are undecided as to whether they will support the proposed merger between the two carriers and has reeled off a list of demands they have to meet before they throw their weight behind the takeover.

Top of the list of demands made by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) is for Alaska Airlines to reach a deal with the union on an ‘industry-leading’ contract for crew members, although negotiations don’t appear to be going well.

Late last year, the union called a rare strike authorization vote – apparently prompted by Alaska’s decision to launch a takeover bid for Hawaiian Airlines while simultaneously arguing that it couldn’t afford the union’s pay rise demands.

The vote is set to conclude on February 13 with 86% of eligible flight attendants so far casting their ballots.

Alaska Airlines says it is actively negotiating with the union and is committed to reaching a deal despite the current merger talks with Hawaiian. The Seattle-based carrier has already offered flight attendants a 15% pay rise, but the union fears this will still leave its members behind their peers at rivals like United and Delta Air Lines.

The $1.9 billion takeover of Hawaiian came as a shock to the entire industry in December, with Alaska planning to merge the airlines into a single entity with a shared frequent flyer program but with separate brands.

To win the support of flight attendants at both airlines, the union is also pushing Alaska and Hawaiian to commit to a raft of standard merger demands such as no furlough protections, no displacements and a mechanism to keep the best bits from both flight attendants’ contracts then the two workgroups merge.

The major sticking point, though, is the delayed contract at Alaska Airlines. The union will now delay backing the merger until March 25 at the earliest, although a second status update has also been penciled in for April 26.

In contrast, AFA was quick to announce its “strong support” for the failed takeover bid of Spirit Airlines by JetBlue. The union argued that the merger would increase competition, but a federal judge disagreed with that argument and put a stop to the takeover last month.

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