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Alaska Airlines flight attendants demonstrate again, will hold strike vote

Alaska Airlines flight attendants crowded San Diego International Airport's terminal two as local union leaders said negotiations on a new contract have basically fallen apart. The Association of Flight Attendants also announced members will vote next month on whether to authorize a strike against Alaska Airlines.

Why it matters

Alaska Airlines officials said they have been negotiating with the Association of Flight Attendants since September of 2022 and have come to some tentative agreements. Tuesday's picket outside the airport was the third this year.

"This has been building up for a while," said James Bozanich, an Alaska Airlines flight attendant and one of the union's contract negotiators. "We were sold on this promise of topping industry wages with an aggressive bargaining schedule. We came to that whole heartedly and the company did not produce."

The demonstration in San Diego was part of a larger, nationwide day of action.

"We’re not backing down at this point," Bozanich said. "We’re taking this the entire way. The only way its going to stop is if we get a contract that’s economically feasible."

By the numbers

Alaska Airlines officials said they have made an offer that would put flight attendant pay at or near the top of the industry with an immediate 15% increase. The airline said they are open to more proposals and are actively negotiating with more meetings set for early next year.

"The only way to close the gap between parties is to discuss and work together," a statement on Alaska Air's website said. "We are ready and willing to do that and are eager to resume negotiations in the new year."

Alaska Airlines officials said those demonstrating are not scheduled to work and they do not anticipate any service or operational disruptions.


Closer look

Local union leaders said they have not had to strike since 1993 during a 'chaos' strike — which stands for "create havoc around our system."

"In '93 we were very successful in a chaos strike," said Melanie Buker, vice president of the local Association of Flight Attendants union. "We’re to that point now, we’re just kind of fed up with management not paying us our worth."