Alaska Airlines pilots vote to strike if contract negotiations fail

An Alaska Air
Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX Photo Credit: Boeing

WARSAW – Pilots for Alaska Airlines voted Wednesday to authorize their union, the Air Line Pilots Association, to strike if a new contract between them and Alaska Airlines cannot be reached.

In a statement on the ALPA union website, pilots voted with a “99 percent” approval rate to authorize a strike. Although it would likely take at least a month before that happens, according to the legal process to strike.

Both the union and Alaska Airlines acknowledged that before a strike can happen, the National Mediation Board must decide that current efforts to come to an agreement are not working and offer arbitration as a way of moving forward.

If neither side agrees to arbitrate, then the mediation board would institute a 30-day “cooling off” period before a strike by the union or lockout by management could be used.

3 years of talks

Capt. Will McQuillen, chairman of the Alaska Airlines segment of the Air Line Pilots Association Master Executive Council, said contract negotiations, which have stretched into the third year of talks, have not been productive as pilots have used the usual tactics to settle, including an informational picket in early April.

“For three years, Alaska pilots have been resolved in their commitment to reach a new agreement, and today, we spoke with one unified voice, just like we did with our recent informational picketing event”, said Capt. Will McQuillen, chairman of the Alaska Airlines ALPA Master Executive Council.

Alaska Airlines responded to the vote by stating that the company’s pilots are not on strike, emphasizing that the two sides must go through a “multi-step process” with the National Mediation Board before a strike can occur.

“For years, we have been working toward a market-based contract with reasonable solutions that address work rules, scheduling flexibility, and career-security issues that pilots at other companies enjoy, not a strike. Now is the time for management to respond and engage constructively at the bargaining table”, adds McQuillen.

Inconvenience to passengers is not expected for the time being

The union representing Alaska Airlines pilots – the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) – conducted a ‘strike-authorization ballot’ this month. Today, ALPA released the result of that vote.

As expected, pilots approved the measure. Here’s what you need to know.

As the airline writes in its statement Alaska Airlines pilots are not on strike. ALPA said on 25th May, that a strike can only occur after a specific, multi-step process involving the federal government and National Mediation Board.

Alaska passengers and operations are not impacted by this vote so far. 

US carriers remain committed to reaching a deal to provide an updated contract that is good for Alaska’s pilots.

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