Air Line Pilots Association, International
Alaska Airlines Master Executive Council

2800 S. 192nd St. Suite 106 Seattle, WA 98188

Release #09.ALA
January 27, 2009

Alaska Pilots Receive $5 Million Grant from National Union for Strike Preparations

SEATTLE—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), on Tuesday unanimously approved a request from Alaska Airlines’ pilots for $5 million from ALPA’s Major Contingency Fund (MCF) to support the Alaska pilots’ strike preparations. Alaska’s pilots requested the assistance after more than two years of negotiations have failed to produce an agreement.

ALPA’s MCF, the union’s “war chest,” provides pilot groups the necessary resources to respond to threats to their jobs and to the piloting profession. The $5 million authorized by ALPA’s Executive Council today will be used by Alaska pilots to support strike preparations—and an ongoing strike, if the pilots are forced to strike—as well as communications programs to keep pilots and their families informed. ALPA’s Executive Board will officially approve this allocation during its April 2009 meeting.

The Alaska Airlines Master Executive Council, the governing body elected to represent the Alaska pilots, in December voted unanimously to change the name and task of its Strategic Planning Committee to the Strike Preparedness Committee.

“Let me be clear about one thing: We do not want a strike, we want a contract. But, if our management continues to fail to reach an agreement that properly values this pilot group, we will be prepared to strike, and we will do so,” said Capt. Bill Shivers, chairman of the Alaska Master Executive Council.

Alaska’s pilots have been in direct negotiations for a new contract since January 2007; in July 2008, they requested, and were granted, assistance from the National Mediation Board. Despite the assistance of a mediator, issues related to compensation, retirement, health benefits and job security remain unresolved.

“Alaska management’s most recent contract proposals, when taken as a whole, would be regressive from our current contract—a contract imposed four years ago that contained pay cuts of up to 35 percent,” Shivers said. “Our company posted record profits almost immediately after we took those pay cuts, and our management made no effort to share with us. Our next contract must ensure that this pilot group is recognized for the value that is provided by having professional, well trained pilots in the cockpit.”

ALPA represents 52,500 pilots at 36 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, including the 1,505 pilots of Alaska Airlines—including 32 pilots on furlough. Visit the Alaska MEC Web site at

# # #

ALPA Contacts:
Jenn Farrell or David Campbell: 206-241-3138
After Hours: Jenn Farrell, 303-522-6399