Alaska Airlines IAMAW Approves Partial Contract Extension





Alaska Airlines IAMAW Approves Partial Contract Extension

By Mike Mitchell

December 18, 2009, - Alaska Airlines announced on Thursday International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) have ratified a two-year contract extension. The airline's 2,800 clerical, office and passenger service employees, who are also represented by the IAMAW, rejected an identical two-year extension proposal.  


The agreement for ramp service and stores agents was ratified by 85 percent of the employees who voted, while the clerical, office and passenger service work group rejected their proposed contract extension by 65 percent. "We're pleased that our ramp service and stores agents resoundingly approved the extension and will continue to have a stable labor agreement that recognizes their dedicated efforts to provide our customers with outstanding service," said Kelley Dobbs, Alaska Airlines' vice president of human resources and labor relations. "While we're disappointed that our clerical, office and passenger service employees rejected the same extension proposal, we respect their choice and will begin preparations for contract negotiations early next year." 

The contract extension approved by ramp service and stores agents provides them with a 1.5-percent pay increase in June 2010 and 2011, plus an annual pay raise based on their seniority with the company. In addition, they will now participate in the same performance-based incentive plan as all other Alaska Airlines work groups, except clerical, office and passenger service employees. 

Under the Railway Labor Act, which governs collective bargaining agreements in the airline industry, contracts do not expire. Instead, they become amendable. The current contract for Alaska Airlines' clerical, office and passenger service employees becomes amendable on July 19, 2010. Negotiators for Alaska and the IAM will commence the bargaining process in early 2010. 

Alaska Airlines, (NYSE: ALK) is an airline based in SeaTac, Washington, United States, near Seattle. It operates four hubs located at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Portland International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.  

The airline traces its roots to McGee Airways, which flew its inaugural service between Anchorage and Bristol Bay in 1932 with a Stinson single-engined, three-passenger aircraft. Mergers and acquisitions produced changes in the name and saw business expand throughout Alaska. As of 1942, the airline was known as "Alaska Star Airlines." The name Alaska Airlines was adopted in 1944 having narrowly beat a competitor applying for the name. Alaska Airlines moved to the jet age when it introduced a Convair CV-880 in 1961.


In the early 1960s Alaska had its headquarters in what is now the Belltown area of Seattle. Alaska's sister (and wholly owned) airline, Horizon Air, was founded in 1981 to serve communities using routes vacated by larger airlines after the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. In 1985, Alaska Air Group was formed as a holding company for Alaska Airlines. A year later the holding company acquired Horizon Air and Jet America Airlines, which merged into Alaska Airlines in 1987.  

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico.

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