March 15, 2004
Alaska Airlines Pilots Terminate Mid-Term Contract Discussions; Immediately Begin Regularly Scheduled Negotiations
SEATTLE -- The elected representatives of the Alaska Airlines pilot group, as represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), voted late last week in a special meeting to terminate mid-term contract discussions with Alaska Management and immediately begin regularly scheduled negotiations.
Both sides have been meeting since November 2003 to discuss mid-term contract adjustments. Negotiations concluded in December 2003 with no agreement, but were re-started in January 2004. No agreement resulted. The pilot representatives voted late last week to terminate mid-term discussions permanently.
"Our leadership team believes that ending mid-term negotiations now is the best decision for our pilot group," said Alaska Master Executive Chairman Gary Hansen. "We ultimately could not reach an agreement that we feel best met the needs of our entire pilot group. Now we’re looking forward to starting with a clean slate and beginning regularly scheduled negotiations."
Under the terms of a side letter in their contract that governs the regularly scheduled negotiations, Alaska pilots may now (as of March 15) begin discussions with Alaska Management on non-economic contractual items. Both sides are meeting today to begin work on these items, which includes incorporating current letters of agreement into the contract and simplifying and reorganizing the contract’s layout. Negotiations related to economic items will begin in June. If an agreement is reached by December 2004, it is subject to membership ratification, with an effective date of May 2005. However, if no agreement is reached by December 2004, the two parties will be required to participate in binding interest arbitration, with an arbitration board ruling on contractual issues such as wages.
The Alaska pilots’ leadership team also elected Captain John Sluys to serve as the new Negotiating Committee Chairman. Previous Chairman Captain Bill Shivers stepped down from the position for personal reasons. Captain Sluys is currently a member of the Negotiating Committee and has previously served as the Master Executive Council Chairman and Membership Committee Chairman. In addition, the Master Executive Council approved a resolution to realign the terms of the current officers to better coincide with the new round of negotiations. Effective May 1, the current officer team will resign and newly elected officers will take office with terms that run through May 2006.
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 1,507 Alaska Airlines pilots. Visit the Alaska Airlines ALPA website at http://alaskapilots.alpa.org and the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
ALPA Communications Specialist Tara Elkins (206) 241-3138
First Officer Tony Salmon (206) 660-8650