Alaska Pilots See Gains in New Contract

May 19, 2009 - Alaska Airlines’ pilots today approved a new four-year contract. With 95% of eligible pilots voting, 84% cast their ballots in favor of the agreement.

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 began direct negotiations for a new contract in January 2007 and reached a tentative agreement last month. The pilots’ last contract, the product of an interest arbitration decision in May 2005, cut pilot pay by 21–35%.