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News Release

Release #03.ALA
November 4, 2003

Alaska Airlines Pilots Enter Into Mid-Term Contract Negotiations with Management

Seattle, WA -- Alaska Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), have entered into negotiations with Alaska Airlines management in advance of a previously determined contract negotiations time line.

Both ALPA and Alaska Airlines management have agreed to utilize the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) approach to negotiations. IBB is a joint problem-solving method of negotiating that encourages open discussion and sharing of ideas. Ms. Maggie Jacobsen, former chairwoman of the National Mediation Board, will serve as the IBB facilitator throughout the negotiating sessions.

"We are pleased that Alaska Airlines management accepted our offer to enter into mid-term contract negotiations ahead of our previously scheduled contract negotiations," said Gary Hansen, chairman of the Alaska Airlines pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC), a unit of ALPA. "By using the IBB approach and the skills of Maggie Jacobsen, we look forward to productive and beneficial negotiations that will have a positive outcome for both sides."

Under the terms of their contract, Alaska pilots would have been required to begin negotiations contract in March 2004. If an agreement was reached, it would have been subject to membership ratification with an effective date of May 2005. However, if no agreement was reached, the two parties would have been required to participate in binding interest arbitration, with an arbitration board ruling on contractual issues such as wages.

In July, Alaska Airlines management proposed pay and work rule concessions to the pilot group. ALPA’s Economic and Financial Analysis (E&FA) team found that although Alaska’s cost-reduction strategies were overly ambitious, the Alaska pilot group’s participation in negotiations to an appropriate extent could be positive and was recommended; the MEC agreed with E&FA’s recommendations.

The two sides are currently in the first of three scheduled weeks of negotiations.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, representing 66,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the United States and Canada, including approximately 1,500 Alaska Airlines pilots. Visit the ALPA website at 

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ALPA CONTACT: Tara Elkins (206-241-3138) or First Officer Tony Salmon (206-660-8650)