Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alaska Airlines pilots approve new four-year contract

Alaska Airlines logoAlaska Airlines pilots have a new four-year contract. A large majority of the membership of the pilots' union, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), voted to approve the tentative contract agreement that was reached last month. Terms of the new contract are retroactive to Apr. 1, 2009.

ALPA reports that 95% of eligible pilots voted. Of those, 84% cast their ballots in favor of the new agreement.

According to ALPA, the new contract includes pay increases of nearly 12% for captains and 16–29.5% for first officers, effective April 1, 2009. It also includes a signing bonus, retirement options for current pilots, and work rules that provide increased flexibility for the pilots. Pilots hired post-ratification will participate in a 401(k) program with a 13.5% company contribution.

“This pilot group, along with pilots across our industry, have watched our pay, benefits, job security, and quality of life erode since 9/11,” said Capt. Bill Shivers, Alaska MEC chairman. “While this contract doesn’t restore everything, it does provide increases in pay and improvements in our work schedule and retirement flexibility while allowing our company to remain poised for success. We believe this is a positive step toward repairing the relationship between this pilot group and our management so that we can work together to achieve a company culture where everyone succeeds and prospers together.”

Alaska Airlines pilots had been working under an arbitrator-imposed contract since May 2005. That contract had cut their pay by as much as 35%.