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Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants Give The Carrier Two Weeks to Reach Contract Deal or Face a Potential Strike

Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants Give The Carrier Two Weeks to Reach Contract Deal or Face a Potential Strike

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Flight attendants at Alaska Airlines have given the Seattle-based carrier just two weeks to reach a tentative contract or face the prospect of the union taking the next steps towards a potential strike.

In February, flight attendants voted overwhelmingly in favor of taking strike action if a deal couldn’t be done, with 99.48% of crew members saying they supported a walkout on a turnout of 94% of eligible flight attendants.

Since then, negotiations have dragged on, but now the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) has indicated that it is beginning to tire of the long-winded talks and is readying to escalate the dispute.

“We’re ready to push forward over the next two weeks during our negotiations sessions to reach a tentative agreement that Alaska Flight Attendants can ratify,” the union told its members on Wednesday.

“If management won’t make the deal, we’re preparing for next steps under the Railway Labor Act,” the memo continued.

Despite its name, the Railway Labor Act also governs labor relations for workers in the aviation industry and it’s this law that gives flight attendants the right to strike.

Strike action can, however, only take place with the permission of the National Mediation Board, which would have to declare an impasse and release the two sides into a 30-day cooling-off period.

The NMB has traditionally been very reluctant to release flight attendants into the pre-walkout cooling-off period, but flight attendants at American Airlines are increasingly confident that the NMB might approve their request to declare an impasse following months of intensive mediation.

The AFA is also trying to put pressure on the NMB to make it easier for flight attendants to go on strike, arguing that the reluctance of the independent federal agency allows airlines to drag out negotiations without any fear of repercussions.

Last month, the union released the results of a survey of its Alaska Airlines members that found that nearly one in ten crew members at the carrier had experienced some form of homelessness in the past year.

The survey also found that 59% of flight attendants had just $500 per month to spend after all their bills were accounted for, while 71% said they didn’t have enough savings to cover their expenses for three months should they be unable to work.

Over a third of flight attendants said they had relied on food stamps or been forced to visit a food bank in the past year, while 29% of crew members said they commuted more than 100 miles to their base so that they could live in a cheaper city.

Last year, the union called out Alaska Airlines for its decision to make a bid to take over Hawaiian Airlines while failing to reach a deal with its own flight attendants. At the time, Alaska Airlines said it was committed to reaching a deal with the union.

View Comments (3)
  • Wait! I thought they were already on strike…. So, my recent flight from Seattle to Boston was them not on strike? Huh…. Not sure most customers would notice a difference between mediocre, indifferent service and none at all.

  • The Railway Labor Act puts the greedy carriers in the driver’s seat. These carriers who have paid pilots lavishly this year, consider Flight Attendants a necessary nuisance. There is no pressure on them to deal honestly with the unions. American Flight Attendants have been without a contract for FIVE YEARS! It’s ridiculous and I look forward to the day that APFA or AFA strikes a carrier and brings the operation to it’s knees to demonstrate just how crucial Flight Attendants are.Good luck to Alaska and American Flight Attendants – I’m in your corner!

  • It amazes me how, in the name of clicks, there seems to be a never ending supply of online “journalists” who simply cut and paste whatever leftie news release that comes their way.

    Anyone who knows anything about the airline industry knows unions under the Railway Labor Act don’t “give” anything to anybody.

    Things only happen when the National Mediation Board says they happen, and ultimately with the consent of the president.

    The chance of the president signing off on an airline strike weeks before the presidential election is the smallest number you can imagine.

    What will happen is that flight attendants will “work their contract”, or CHAOS, as they call it, which is the most selfish thing there is. The people most affected by these actions are the flight attendants’ fellow customer service employees who have to clean up their mess.

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