You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Alaska Airlines pilots vote to authorize a strike, setting stage for a showdown with the airline

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 5/25/2022 Ethan Klapper
© Provided by The Points Guy
MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

The vast majority of Alaska Airlines’ nearly 3,100 union pilots have voted to go on strike.

In the vote conducted by the Alaska Airlines master executive council of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), 99% of pilots voted in favor of a strike, with 96% of eligible pilots participating, the union said.

Wednesday’s results do not necessarily mean the pilots will actually walk off the job.

However, it does open the door for a strike if the National Mediation Board (NMB), the federal labor relations board for the airline industry, gives the pilots permission to do so. On the flip side, Alaska’s management could theoretically choose to lock its pilots out.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter

There are two key things that would need to happen before any lockout or strike. First, the NMB would need to release both the company and the union from mediation. That would be then followed by a mandated 30-day cooling-off period. So, if there was to be a strike, that would likely be a long way off, but would also likely come during peak summer travel season.

Video: This 10-Second Trick Will Help You Score Cheaper Domestic Flights Every Time (Travel + Leisure)

This 10-Second Trick Will Help You Score Cheaper Domestic Flights Every Time
What to watch next

Alaska’s pilots have been negotiating a new contract with the airline’s management for three years, and say that there has been little progress. This has continued into the tenure of the airline’s new CEO, Ben Minicucci, who took over last spring.

“For three years, Alaska pilots have been resolved in their commitment to reach a new agreement and today, we spoke with one unified voice, just like we did with our recent informational picketing event,” Capt. Will McQuillen, the chairman of Alaska’s pilot union, said in a statement. “For years, we have been working toward a market-based contract with reasonable solutions that address work rules, scheduling flexibility, and career-security issues that pilots at other companies enjoy, not a strike. Now is the time for management to respond and engage constructively at the bargaining table.”

More: Alaska Airlines’ cancellation woes not over yet; CEO says it will be back on track by July

If Alaska’s pilots do strike, it would be the first pilot strike at a U.S. passenger airline since the four-day strike in 2010 by Spirit Airlines pilots.

Alaska has been plagued by poor operational performance in recent weeks — a strong incentive for both sides to avert a strike ahead of what’s expected to be a very busy summer travel season.

TPG reached out to Alaska Airlines management for comment, which is expected shortly.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


More From The Points Guy

The Points Guy
The Points Guy
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon