Pilots for Alaska Airlines are set to begin voting on authorizing a strike.
After three years of unsuccessfully coming to a contract agreement, the airline’s pilot union leaders have voted unanimously to conduct a strike-authorization ballot among their pilots.
The ballot for authorizing the industrial action began on May 9, 2022 and will close on May 25, 2022.
Alaska Airlines Strike Authorization Vote Now Open— Alaska Airlines Pilots (@AlaskaPilots) May 9, 2022
Alaska pilots deserve the job security and quality of life enjoyed by their peers. The #Alaskapilots union is asking all #AlaskaAirlines pilots to participate in the Strike Authorization vote May 9-25@AlaskaAir #DoTheRightThing pic.twitter.com/F5P1wfQfXg
Once the pilots pass the vote, the union leadership will then be authorized to declare a strike when the National Mediation Board (NMB) permits them to do so.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents Alaska Airlines pilots, is urging the airline to “do the right thing” by valuing its pilots. The union says that in exit interviews, “pilots overwhelmingly report the lack of a market-based contract as their motivation to move to other airlines.”
According to ALPA, existing and prospective pilots are choosing other airlines over Alaska for contracts that contain industry-standard scope clauses, job security, better work rules, and quality of life.
“Alaska Airlines pilots have been in contract negotiations for three years and in all that time management hasn’t meaningfully addressed the pilot group’s concerns,” ALPA said in its website.
“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,” said ALPA chairman Captain Will McQuillen in a statement to local media.
“However, we are willing to take any lawful steps necessary, including a legal strike, to achieve the contract every Alaska pilot has earned.”
The call to vote on authorizing the pilot strike came a day after the Port of Seattle reported 26 flight cancelations from Alaska Airlines on May 9, 2022, after Mother’s day weekend.