Alaska Airlines pilots vote overwhelmingly to authorize a strike

ALPA issued this statement:
Alaska Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), said firmly today that they’re willing to strike if agreement on a new employment contract cannot be reached. With nearly 96 percent of members participating, an overwhelming 99 percent of Alaska pilots authorized union leaders to call a strike if necessary and when the parties are permitted by the National Mediation Board (NMB) to take that action.

The vote follows informational picketing last month where over 1,500 off-duty pilots, nearly half of the pilots employed by the airline, and their supporters, lined airports and streets at every Alaska Airlines base, the largest event of its kind in ALPA’s history.

“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. “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.”

Before a strike can take place, the NMB must first decide that additional mediation efforts would not be productive and offer the parties an opportunity to arbitrate the contract dispute. If either side declines the arbitration, both parties enter a 30-day “cooling off” period, after which pilots and management can engage in self-help—a strike by the union or a lockout by management.

Alaska Airlines aircraft photo gallery: