Alaska Airlines flight attendants celebrate "record deal" after a long fight

On Friday night, Alaska Airlines and the union representing 7,000 flight attendants reached a tentative labor agreement, ending more than a year and a half of negotiations.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Alaska Airlines flight attendants celebrate "record deal" after a long fight
© Getty Images/Mario Tama

On Friday night, Alaska Airlines and the union representing 7,000 flight attendants reached a tentative labor agreement, ending more than a year and a half of negotiations. The deal, which the union is calling a "record deal," is likely to include a significant wage increase, which has been a common demand across the airline industry.

The Fight for Better Conditions

Steve Maller, a flight attendant with nearly 20 years of experience, was among those who protested in February. Maller was part of the crew of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, which drew international attention on January 5 when part of the door flew off, leaving a large hole in the side of the plane.

“You have to have something to have livable pay, to make ends meet,” Maller told CNN in February. He expressed concern that the airline was losing too many experienced flight attendants who had not had a significant pay raise in years.

Maller also worked as a bartender, and he says most of the flight attendants he knows also have other jobs. “It was unheard of five years ago (for flight attendants to) quit their jobs,” he said. “Now we have 20, 25, 30 a month (quitting)”.

The Way to an Agreement

In April, the union announced to members that it was seeking a wage increase of between 43% and 56%, depending on seniority, by 2026. These wage increases would also include a retroactive payment covering the period of one and a half years during which they worked under the terms of the previous contract.

“Your actions over the last two years of bargaining … ensured we had the leverage to extract every last dollar from Alaska Airlines management,” the union said Friday in a statement to its members. Alaska Airlines expressed satisfaction with the agreement reached and thanked the union negotiators.

"Through joint efforts, we were able to reach an agreement that provides quality of life and continued career growth at Alaska Airlines," the airline said in a statement.

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