Alaska Airlines flight attendants reject contract

Next vote for the Association of Flight Attendants will be on whether to strike

Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Alaska Airlines flight attendants on Tuesday rejected a tentative agreement recommended by union leaders.

In the next few weeks, the Association of Flight Attendants will take a strike vote. A message on the union's Web site said a strike is not imminent, but the vote could be used as leverage when negotiators meet again.

"To achieve a better agreement, we need to show management that we will strike if they don't meet our demands," the message said.

The workers could strike if a new agreement is not drafted after a 30-day cooling off period.

Union president Veda Shook said two of the issues concern health care and working hours, but he did not say anything about pay. Union leaders and Alaska Airlines management agreed not to make public details of the negotiations.

Some 90 percent of Alaska Airlines' 2,400 flight attendants voted on the contract.

"I think that's our strength. We can use that next time when we come to the table," Shook said.

Alaska management released a statement that said it was disappointed with the outcome.

"Our goal remains to achieve a collaborative agreement with the features Alaska needs to compete, grow and offer good jobs and a secure future," said Bill Ayer, chairman and CEO of Alaska Airlines.

Alaska pilots last week overwhelmingly rejected a tentative agreement that included an across-the-board 20 percent pay cut with only a 2 percent increase in 2008. The agreement would have been for five years.

The company's mechanics are expected to vote on their labor agreement next week.

• Andrew Petty can be reached at andrew.petty@juneauempire.com



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