Another big pay increase for ground workers, this time at Alaska Airlines, with management and staff representatives announcing a deal described as “industry-leading”. 

Alaska Airlines announced that its airport customer service agents, stores, cargo, ground service and reservations agents, who are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), have ratified a two-year contract extension and agreement with management. 

The deal comes amidst staff shortages across the aviation industry, which are allowing staff to push for better pay. Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) on August 4, 2022, agreed a significant pay increase for its ground staff, just a week after a strike that had forced over 1,000 flight cancelations at Germany’s largest carrier.

The Alaska Airlines contract was passed overwhelmingly, including increased pay with market reviews to ensure wage rates stay competitive, as well as increases in longevity pay. Job security has also been extended until September 27, 2028, the Seattle and Anchorage-based airline said in a statement dated August 6, 2022.

“Approximately 5,300 IAM members at Alaska Airlines who work in Ramp, Stores, Clerical, Office and Passenger Service have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a historic, industry-leading four-year contract,” IAM said in a statement, adding that the ground staff’s move to the top of the airline industry’s pay scale is a first in the airline’s history.

Agreements in the ratified contract include:

  • Raises base wage rates for all classifications to between 8.9% and 17.4% on August 10, 2022.

  • Further raises all base wages rates for all classifications by 2.5% on August 10, 2022.

  • No changes to strong existing medical and other benefits.

  • Longevity pay increases starting after year 6 at 5 cents per hour, and topping out after year 12 and beyond at 35 cents per hour.

“IAM negotiators strongly advocated for employees’ needs, which included significant improvements to the wage structure,” Jenny Wetzel, vice president of labor relations at Alaska Airlines said in a statement. 

Wetzel added: “I’m glad we were able to reach an agreement that improves our employees’ quality of life and is good for our company’s long-term success. We are all very proud of this new agreement.”  

IAM added it looked forward to building on the ground staff contract “for all airline workers”.

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