LONDON – It is understood that pilots at Alaska Airlines will ballot on strike action on May 9, with the votes due to close on May 25.
This ballot falls under the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which if pilots vote in favor of such action, would give permission for the union to do so.
ALPA released a statement commenting on this:
“The pilot union’s leaders at Alaska Airlines unanimously voted to conduct a strike-authorization ballot among their pilots.”
“This means union leaders are officially requesting the Alaska Airlines pilot group, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA), give them the authority to go on strike when legally permitted to do so.”
“This would only happen if negotiations break down and the federal government authorizes a walkout after the parties exhaust the required procedures of the Railway Labor Act.”
A Lot of Alaska Pilots Are in ALPA…
According to AirCargoNews, there are around 3,100 Alaska Airlines pilots that are in ALPA that could strike if the ballot is passed.
The strike action stems from the basis of a new contract that has been in intense negotiations since 2019.
Will McQuillen, Chairman of the Alaska Airlines ALPA Master Executive Council insisted that the pilots are not looking to strike, but for improvements in their contracts:
“Alaska pilots are not looking to strike. We are looking for improvements to our contract in line with the market but that will also allow our company to grow and remain successful and competitive”.
“However, we are willing to take any lawful steps necessary, including a legal strike, to achieve the contract every Alaska pilot has earned.”
Not in Alaska’s Interest…
This, of course, is not in Alaska Airlines’ interest, especially when they have a busy Summer 2022 schedule ahead of them.
With Seattle being a primary hub for the carrier as well, chaos would ensue at the prospect of strike action, with no timetable actually in place for this to take place.
If the motion is passed, then this strike could occur as early as June, which is right in the thick of the season, which would offer detrimental revenue damage to Alaska Airlines if no consensus is made.
As per AirCargoNews, industrial action that was taken earlier this year didn’t have a detrimental effect on the air cargo operations side, meaning this will no doubt affect passengers moving forward.
It remains clear that Alaska Airlines will have to come to some form of an agreement with ALPA if it wants to prevent strike action at a crucial time for the carrier.
With the airline already struggling anyway because of a widescale pilot shortage in the United States, it will result in more cancellations than it has done.
The offer that was made by the carrier represented “the highest contractual investment we’ve ever proposed in our history and would make our first officers the highest paid in the industry”.
With the union still wanting to strike, it is clear that the airline hasn’t gone far enough to secure those 3,100 pilots and get them onboard.
Therefore, another offer needs to be made, and it needs to be sufficient.