December 16, 2004
Alaska Airlines Pilots and Management Unable to Reach Tentative Agreement
SEATAC – After more than 16 months of near constant negotiations, the negotiators for the Alaska Airlines pilots, as represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), and Alaska Airlines management were unable to reach a comprehensive tentative agreement on the pilots’ collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The parties worked up to the Midnight deadline on December 15.
“Both sides spent countless hours at the table and did make progress in many areas,” said Captain Mark Bryant, Master Executive Council (MEC) Chairman for the Alaska Airlines pilot group. “I commend Alaska management’s negotiators for working hard with our ALPA team up until the deadline.”
He continued, “This is not the outcome that we hoped for, however, we could not reach an agreement that we believed fit the needs of our pilots. Now we are ready to move onto the next step.”
The two sides did “close” several sections within the collective bargaining agreement during negotiations. These sections provided Alaska Airlines numerous improvements in scheduling and productivity, and ultimately could have saved the company millions of dollars in operating costs. However the parties could not reach agreement on several other large-item sections, including those related to compensation, retirement and insurance. Any tentative agreements completed on specific sections were contingent upon reaching a comprehensive agreement. The tentative agreements that were reached during negotiations on specific sections are now no longer valid.
Now that negotiations have concluded with no comprehensive agreement, both sides will begin preparations for an interest arbitration that will determine the next contract. Each side will prepare and present five single specific contractual items to an arbitration board for resolution. Wage rates will be determined separately from the five items. The arbitration board will consist of one ALPA representative, one Alaska Airlines representative and one neutral – a mutually-selected arbitrator. The arbitration board’s decision will amend the company’s current collective bargaining agreement with the pilots, with the new contract’s duration beginning in May 2005 and ending in May 2007. Administrative changes agreed upon by both sides early in the negotiating process such as the contract’s layout and section numbering will also be incorporated into the new CBA.
ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, representing 64,000 airline pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. ALPA’s website is www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contacts: Tara Darrow, 206-498-8943 (cell)